It sees major changes keep going on at the top of the food-chain at Microsoft. According to an update on his LinkedIn profile, Jason Holtman, the Head of PC Gaming and Entertainment Strategy at Microsoft has left the Windows and Xbox creating company at the end of January 2014. Jason Holtman has signed up with Microsoft in August 2013, with foreseeable plans for the future. This future did not seem to last for more than half a year though, as Holtman’s departure has been now confirmed.
“We can confirm that Jason has left Microsoft and we’re grateful for his time at the company. We wish him the best in his future endeavours.” was Microsoft’s response to the issue, with no exact details as to why Holtman has departed. Jason Holtman himself was unavailable for comment, and the reasons for him leaving are still a mystery. Mr. Holtman is well-known for his time working at Valve, where his work contributed greatly to the development of Steam into the popular platform that it is today.
Last year, when signing up with Microsoft, he stated that “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”. It’s quite possible that Holtman simply didn’t see eye to eye with Microsoft’s leadership board, or was not given a flexible enough environment to work with. At this point, we’re just speculating, but this news does not bode well, considering that Holtman’s work on Steam is well regarded, and Valve’s platform has been quickly and successfully growing over the last few years.
Holtman’s departure from Valve last year was also shrouded in mystery. He left the company when it was facing a series of cut-backs and lay-offs, and Gabe Newell wasn’t too keen on explaining himself. “We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.” was his response at the time. We’re curious where Holtman will move onto now, and what we can expect from him in the future. In parallel with Holtman’s career change, Microsoft’s creative director Ken Lobb explained that Microsoft is indeed going after the PC market, in an interview given to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. “We have more support internally to support PC more. That’s great! My only expectation would be, please let us continue to do that over a five-year period so we can have real impact. That’s how it feels right now. We’re getting very strong support internally. So we’re really going after PC.”
We’re not sure what exactly this means. The Microsoft Live system will be coming down this year, and while the Xbox One seems to be doing well in sales, it also needs a lot more work. What do you think about the changes at the top of Microsoft? For the better, of for the worse?