Microsoft says general manager Ron Pessner is stepping in from the Entertainment and Devices Division to head up its Games For Windows initiatives.
Pessner's new role is announced just following the departure of former GFW boss Chris Early, laid off from the company as part of its recent round of planned cutbacks. Microsoft plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs at the company, and began with 1,400 layoffs yesterday.
Pessner is joined by Microsoft Games Studios' Dave Luehmann, who will now oversee internal development and publishing for Windows-based games.
The company also voiced its commitment to Windows as a gaming platform both on and offline. "Moving ahead, Microsoft will continue to invest in Windows as a first–class gaming platform through great Windows out of box experiences, our online gaming services including Games for Windows – LIVE, MSN Games, and Messenger games, and through new games for Windows developed by Microsoft Games Studios," the company said in a statement.
As the PC equivalent of Xbox Live, Games for Windows Live has had a mixed response from its inception, even as the company dropped subscription fees for multiplayer play in mid-2008.
Though it now requires no fee, PC gamers have still been slow to embrace the closed-system service, preferring the more open-ended online interfaces traditional in PC games. Titles such as Shadowrun, which allow Xbox 360 and PC gamers to compete together in the same game, have also struggled to catch on.
Along with Early's departure, Microsoft cut Flight Simulator developer Aces Studios, but the company stressed today that aside from the appointment of Pessner and Luehmann, "we are not commenting on specific personnel issues at this time."