Valve’s former director of business development, Jason Holtman has been hired by Microsoft. Holtman worked with Valve for over eight years, during which he turned Steam into one of the world’s best digital distribution platforms.
In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Jason Holtman said, “Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment. 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.”
Holtman, along with several high-profile personnel left Valve in February amidst unknown circumstances. When asked as to what the reason was, Valve’s founder Gabe Newell just said, “We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.”
Holtman was a major reason behind the success of Steam as a distribution engine for games, and has been credited with bringing EA, Activision and more on-board the digital distribution bandwagon. Microsoft also has a digital games distribution engine, Games for Windows Live, which has failed to take off. With Windows 8, Microsoft has another content deliver engine in the Windows 8 Store. Figuring out how to utilize these services to enable a cohesive game distribution engine will likely be one of Holtman’s main job duties.
Microsoft has been focusing solely on the Xbox when it comes to gaming over the last few years, and has largely left PC gamers stranded. Meanwhile, Valve has been a growing force in this segment, and has steadily been the go-to choice for Windows gamers. Just today, it was announced that publishers of Batman: Arkham Origins and Ultra Street Fighter IV will use Valve for content delivery on Windows over Games for Windows.
So it does seem like the right time to hire someone who clearly knows how to make a digital distribution engine work. It is down to Jason Holtman to bring Microsoft back into the fore of PC gaming.
Source: GamesIndustry International