Microsoft bolsters its PC gaming cred with Steam’s former business maestro

steams former director of business development joins microsoft games for windows wallpaper 3 by thewax

After suddenly leaving Valve after eight years, Steam’s former director of business development, Jason Holtman, has found a new home at Microsoft. Holtman will focus on “PC Gaming and Entertainment strategy.”

holtman“Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment,” Holtman confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz. “I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I’m excited to be here.”

While at Valve, Holtman was in charge of interacting with developers that distributed games via Steam. During his eight year stint, he was a major proponent of digital distribution, and is credited for brokering many of the deals between Valve and third-party developers like EA and Activision, in order to bring their games to the Steam service. He was also a champion of smaller developers and publishers, and helped encourage the growth of indie games via Steam.

Although neither Holtman nor Microsoft have gone into specifics about the former lawyer’s new job at Microsoft, his title does specifically state that he will be working with PC gaming.

The Games for Windows Live service has been struggling for years now, and is generally viewed as an inferior service compared to that of competitors like Steam. Holtman should be able to provide an immediate boost to Microsoft, but PC gaming may just one part of Microsoft’s strategy.

Microsoft has made no secret of its desire to make all of its products connect, so the PC gaming and console gaming digital distribution models are likely to be linked. The Xbox One uses architecture that is similar to a PC, and the idea of improving the online distribution for the new console and making it more like Steam is intriguing.

Holtman left Steam back in February, following the firing of hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth. No reason was given for Ellsworth’s departure, but she did confirm that she was fired. Nine others were removed from Valve’s employee list at the same time, with no explanation. Shortly after the departures, Holtman announced that he was leaving Valve. Co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell stated that Valve’s priorities were in no way changing, but beyond that he refused to comment on personnel matters. We have contacted Valve for comment, and will update the post as necessary.

Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Movies & TV

Winter coming in spring? HBO reveals 'Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere date

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Gaming

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Product Review

'Hitman 2' goes in for the kill with more of everything you love

IO Interactive and Warner Bros introduce us to ‘Hitman 2’, a sequel that embraces what made the series so unique and exceeds at delivering a more polished and complex experience.
Gaming

‘Tetris Effect’ makes the undying classic feel new again

Tetris is a game that everyone knows. The classic puzzler has appeared on just about every device since 1984. With music and visual flourishes, Tetris Effect remarkably manages to elevate the iconic game to new heights.
Gaming

Hacker finds Steam bug that unlocks free games, collects $20K for reporting it

Security researcher Artem Moskowsky discovered a Steam bug that allowed him to generate infinite free keys for any game. Instead of abusing the exploit, Moskowsky reported it to Valve, which gave him a $20,000 reward.
Gaming

‘Overwatch’ gunslinger Ashe is now available on all platforms

Blizzard announced Ashe as the latest Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2018. The gunslinger has a history with McCree and makes use of a lever-action repeating rifle and a robotic sidekick.
Gaming

‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars’ sees Spidey confront the villainous Hammerhead

The second part of Marvel's Spider-Man's The City That Never Sleeps DLC swings into action on November 20. Titled Turf Wars, the new storyline is focused on Hammerhead, who is waging war across New York City.
Gaming

Mount up: Latest ‘Fortnite’ update adds powerful turret weapon, Food Fight LTM

The latest update for Fortnite added a Mounted Turret weapon to the battle royale mode. The weapon features unlimited ammunition, but it can overheat if fired too long without interruption.
Gaming

Xbox One adds mouse and keyboard support, levels playing field with PC

The latest system software update for Xbox One has added mouse and keyboard support. The support is limited to Warframe and Fortnite at the moment, with more games coming in November and December.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.