Your name, rank and file please, sir.

Chris Donahue, Lead Technical Evangelist, Windows Graphics and Gaming Group, Windows Client Division, Microsoft Corporation.

How long has this department/section of Microsoft existed? Give us some examples of what you term as "success stories" as far as your department is concerned since you've been there.

This group has existed since the origins of DirectX, which would be about 8 years I believe. In my time here at Microsoft, there have been numerous success stories that have raised the bar for developers to match such as: Half-life 2, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Far Cry, Serious Sam 2 to name a few. In addition to the titles, one of our main goals is to focus on invigorating Windows as a multimedia and gaming platform, and innovation across all aspects of multimedia, especially graphics and HLSL.

Could you explain which part of your job is the easiest and the most difficult? What part of the evangelism/promotion process do you stress or focus on?

The easiest part is getting to work with the most talented people in the industry - our team is made up of some of the best people in the world at what we do. I think our department has a combined total of 60+ years of experience in games and technology evangelism and of course the high level of passion that the entire team has for the game industry.


" of our main goals is to focus on invigorating Windows as a multimedia and gaming platform, and innovation across all aspects of multimedia, especially graphics and HLSL."

Chris Donahue

The hardest part of the job is probably the travel, if you’ve ever been on the road for more than two weeks and not spent more than two nights in the same hotel you can sympathize! That inconvenience is offset by the fact that we are usually out meeting with the best game developers around the world - we get to see what they are working on and often get to help them ship an even better product, that’s a great reward for the hassle of being on the road so much

Is there a XBOX/console departmental equivalent of what you do for Windows in Microsoft? What are the notable differences and similarities between the two?

Yes there is, there is the Advanced Technology Group, as well as the Third Party Publishing group. They both have similarities in that we work with game developers to get the best games for Microsoft’s game platforms, though the Xbox teams are set up a bit differently as are all console based organizations. We all care deeply about getting the best possible games for our customers. The differences are mostly around the fact that the console business is built around a royalty model and the console platform usually provides all of the testing and verification as well as marketing and advertising assistance. We don’t do that for the Windows platform since there isn’t an infrastructure in place (or funded by the royalty system). One advantage this affords the Windows Platform is that it’s an open system - anyone can build a game for our installed base (around 100 million installed units of Windows XP!). It’s more of a challenge to build for our platform because there is no set hardware like a console. However, by creating DirectX, the industry standard API, that’s one of the things that we try to affect in order to make it simpler.

Is your job strictly about promoting Windows as the primary PC gaming platform, or are you also involved in the support side as well? Or is the latter handled by the actual Microsoft Developer Relations department proper? What differentiates your department from the Developer Relations department?

We essentially are the developer relations department when it comes to 3rd party game developers and the Windows Platform. We do get assistance from PSS and many other organizations within Microsoft. We are about promoting Windows as a great game platform, but a large portion of that comes from working behind the scenes with game developers to eke out the last bit of performance or enable the most amazing game play and special effects.

With games come gaming peripherals, like game controllers - at times a tricky issue when it comes to multiple Operating System (OS) support. Are you involved in that aspect as well when it comes to evangelizing Windows as the premier PC gaming platform?

Yes, as a matter of fact we are working on something that will be addressed specifically in the next version of Windows (Codename Longhorn).