Former Steam director Jason Holtman moves to Microsoft, to focus on PC gaming

Phil Savage at

A quick exercise, before we begin a day of Hard News: list the various PC game-selling digital storefronts/services by your order of preference. I'm going to guess that, for most people, Steam and GOG will be towards the top; GamesGate, GMG and Desura will be filling out the middle; and that Origin will be the Wildcard - its placing likely dependant around each person's perception of its parent company. Then we have Microsoft, with Games for Windows Live/Marketplace and the Windows Store. Neither is much loved, and neither has earned much reason to be. And, at a guess, Microsoft isn't too happy about that situation.

Which may explain why they've hired Jason Holtman, Valve's former director of business development for Steam. His new focus at Microsoft: PC gaming and entertainment strategy.

Valve Pipeline: an initiative designed to help students get into game development

Katie Williams at

A desk at Valve HQ would be a dream come true for many. A team of Valve's student interns are working on making that dream more accessible to students with Pipeline - a website devoted to answering the questions that young potential employees might have about game development.

"Valve has been a very good place for very experienced videogame developers, and not so good at teaching people straight out of school" say Valve in the Pipeline FAQ, "Pipeline is an experiment to see if we can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them in the skills and methods necessary to be successful at a company like Valve.

You can see those high school students in action in the Pipline video they produced, which offers an overview of the scheme and an important look at the current stage of Gabe Newell's beard.

AAA to Indie: BitMonster's Lee Perry

Cassandra Khaw at

Lee Perry has been exploring new territory.

Formerly Senior Gameplay Designer on Gears of War 3, Perry is one of BitMonster Games's six founding members. But Bitmonster's debut title is bereft of gargantuan firearms. Instead of steroid-infused marines in heavy armor, Lili has a bespectacled teenage girl as a protagonist. It's one of the many changes Perry and the other co-founders have experienced after their amicable departure from Epic Games.

#1ReasonWhy highlights sexism in the games industry

Phil Savage at

Since the early hours of this morning, developers have been using the Twitter hashtag #1ReasonWhy to explain why there aren't more women working in the games industry; sharing examples of the continued discrimination they face. The stories makes for an uncomfortable, sobering reminder of just how pervasive sexism is in gaming.

GameStop and the Retail War of 2012

Richard Cobbett at

Gamestop's decision to pull free OnLive codes from copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is more than simply an unfortunate business decision. It's the first real shot in a war between publishers and retail that's been a long time brewing. Whether or not it has the right, contractually or otherwise, isn't really important in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that it did it, giving up one of the year's biggest PC games to make its point - and that's the kind of decision that ripples and echoes in the wider industry. By this time next year, stories like this won't even be a surprise.