Microsoft is pushing hard to breathe life into its own app store, sometimes to the great annoyance of gamers who wonder why we can't all just learn to stop worrying and love Steam. But in an interview on the Giant Bomb livestream last night (via GameSpot), Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft isn't done with Steam just yet.
"I look at Steam today, it's on an incredible growth trajectory. It's a massive force in gaming; a positive force. I think it will be bigger a year from now than it is today. And five years later it will still be bigger again," Spencer said. "I look at Valve as an important [independent software vendor] for us on Windows. They are a critical part of gaming's success on Windows. I don't think Valve's hurt by not having our first-party games in their store right now. They're doing incredibly well. We will ship games on Steam again."
He acknowledged that Microsoft's efforts to build its own online store haven't gone entirely smoothly, but said the company remains committed to making it happen. And, he said, Valve isn't suffering too greatly in the absence of some of Microsoft's games. “I think they're doing fine without Quantum Break in their store,” he said.
Spencer didn't get into what sorts of Microsoft games will eventually make it to Steam, or even when it might start to happen, but I wouldn't expect to see any big blockbusters, like Halo 6 or Gears of Whatever, headed there anytime soon. Putting on smaller, lesser-known, or older games on Steam, like Ori and the Blind Forest or Age of Empires, makes sense: They'll benefit from the wider exposure, and so will Microsoft as a games publisher. But Halo and Gears won't, and Microsoft gets nothing out of sharing them. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't suggest burning your Windows Store membership card just yet.