When Microsoft pitched us an interview on Gears Tactics, it was described as "the first Xbox Games Studios title built as a PC-first experience."
The PR exec who made the pitch appreciated that was a bit of a stretch. Microsoft has been making PC-first games for longer than it's been making Xbox games. The Xbox Games Studios brand was formed in February last year, but even since then there have been PC-only releases, namely a new version of Age of Empires II and the free-to-play PC game Forza Street, a rebranding of 2018's Miami Street.
Gears Tactics is really "the first entirely new Microsoft game made for PC in two years," which doesn't sound nearly as impressive.
Phrasing aside, Gears Tactics is an important release in Microsoft's latest efforts to convince gamers that it's serious about PC. This game isn't a remaster of a classic title, or an Xbox One port, or a free-to-play service aimed at a casual audience -- it's a hardcore strategy game aimed squarely at the PC gaming enthusiast.
Microsoft has been here before. I recall hearing of its commitment to PC during the 2011 and 2012 promotional campaign for Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight, but that support soon faded away, so there's an understandable level of scepticism around Microsoft's latest PC pledges. At E3 last year, we spoke to Xbox boss Phil Spencer about the PC Game Pass subscription service, and it's a reality he acknowledged. "There's a healthy amount of scepticism on whether we are really true to that [PC] customer," he said. "Or is this just another ploy for us to get them to buy an Xbox? Which it is not."