Stardock’s Wardell Slams GFWL

By Jim Rossignol on October 1st, 2009 at 7:13 pm.


Speaking to Shacknews, Brad Wardell says:

“I started out as a big Games for Windows Live advocate. I intended for Elemental to be on Games for Windows Live, but then as we got closer, the Xbox group took it over more and more. And they have things where, oh, if you want to use Games for Windows Live to update your game, you have to go through [their] certification. And if you do it more than X number of times, you have to pay money. It’s like, “My friends, you can’t do that on the PC.” … If Games for Windows Live maintains that strategy and they take over, I’m done. I’m not making PC games. I would be done.”

I hereby declare this slagging thread for GFWL open!

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188 Comments »

  1. ZIGS says:

    GFWL sucks. I don’t even need to state any reasons why, at this point it’s pretty much common sense

  2. Larington says:

    Wheres my pitchfo… Aha!

    BURN ‘EM!

    BUUUUUUURN ‘EM!

    • Tei says:

      Share the sentiment.

      So Microsoft want dev’s to pay to update games more than N times? cool way to kill old games.

    • Davee says:

      *Picks up a pickaxe and torch and joins Larington*

      DIE GFWL, DIE! *mauls GFWL*

  3. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Ahh, GFWL! The one subject on which we can all be AIMs.

    That said, I haven’t had the misfortune of falling foul of it yet, but that may be because I only have two GFWL games. Although, come to think of it, I had a bit of trouble with the first one when the update wouldn’t install, and I had to do it manually. I also think I’ve got issues with it at the moment, but haven’t played either game recently to find out for sure.

  4. Gabanski83 says:

    GfWL is a bag of counter-intuitive shite.

    It’s the new Gamespy, as far as I’m concerned; useless crap that hinders, spoils and interrupts my enjoyment of a game, rather than streamlining it.

    I hate having to sign in everytime, I hate it not working with Xfire, I hate the fact that it interferes with savegames (it really pissed me off in Fallout 3, creating separate save files depending on whether I was signed in or not), I hate the rigmarole needed to join in a friend’s game of GTA4 or SF4.

    Seriously, I’d prefer it if developer’s just didn’t bother with it. It doesn’t benefit me, the player, in any way having it in a game. If it was as simple and smooth as Steam (i.e. unobtrusive, doesn’t pester me telling me it needs an update, or that I’ve signed in, or that I can easily join a friend in a game), then it’d be ok, but as it is, it’s the antithesis of Steam.

    • ascagnel says:

      The GfW in Fallout 3 actually hurt it. After venturing around the Capitol Wastelands for nearly 70 hours, I decided I needed some changes. Many mods require the Fallout Script Extender, which you can’t use with GfW, since GfW doesn’t let you sign in if you’re using an app that’s been unofficially patched.

      I’ve since given up on FO3, and gone back to oblivion. My OBMM list is nearing 100, and it survives between installations if I have Steam =)

  5. Krondonian says:

    I actually quite liked GFWL on GTA IV.

    AND I WILL BURN IN HELL.

  6. Dinger says:

    60 anecdotes? You get 60 anecdotes about bad Steam experiences. For GFWL, I’m betting 300, minimum. Myself, I don’t have any bad GFWL experiences, unless you count finding out that some game I was interested in is going to be released through GFWL.

    I ain’t gonna buy something that’s broken. I ain’t buying GFWL.

  7. Po0py says:

    I just headbutted my Samsung Syncmaster 22″ in anticipation of forthcoming rage.

    I’ll say this. Games For Windows live is an attempt of Microsft to sabotage the pc games market and steal all the customers over to their little box ‘o drm. There.

    • Nerd Rage says:

      Why would they intentionally sabotage a platform where they already manufacture the dominant operating system and supply the dominant gaming API’s? I think they’re just trying to leverage their position in the PC market to have more control over PC games, and are doing a brilliant (sarcasm) job of it. If their goal is to make money, and I believe it is, then “standardizing” the PC as a platform is something that A) only they are in a position to attempt and B) will earn them a small amount of currency for every game that is released on windows.

      I don’t mind the concept of GFWL in and of itself, as long as it’s optional. Which, *gasp*, it always will be. Even if they go so far as to alter Windows such that only GFWL certified applications can access the DirectX libraries, there’s still OpenGL/OpenAL and quite a few more API’s that would allow PC gaming to continue.

    • lumpi says:

      Don’t think it’s deliberate to sabotage the PC. But they sure want to take total control of the windows games market, as they have over the XBox.

      Where is the operating system equivalent of Firefox? We desperately need an alternative…

    • Tei says:

      “Why would they intentionally sabotage a platform where they already manufacture the dominant operating system and supply the dominant gaming API’s? ”

      Is that news for you? DX10 is released only for Vista just to savotage XP as a gamming platform. All the Home versions of Windows are savotaged to support less network conexions, one of the latest Service Packs savotaged windows, so If you have programs that need to create more conexions, you have to move to a *Server version.
      In a future date (the next year maybe) Microsoft will do more moves to savotage XP as a gamming platform in a way that will force gamers to move. DX10 was designed for that, but the lack of hardware that move DX10 and the relax of the polycount race has made this thing unefective, so gamers still use XP.

    • Po0py says:

      Well, so long as Steam exists, I don’t think it has a chance in hell of taking control. It’s sad that games like Batman Arkham Asylum has to resort to GFWL to compliment something as simple as online leaderboards. As far as I can see, that is the only reason Batman AA is using GFWL Does Steam have anything similar? If not then itshould be their top priority.

    • bookwormat says:

      (copy&paste-ing my response from the old forum’s “No Alan Wake for PC” post in here)

      Microsoft is and has always been a platform provider. In the past, analysts often accused Microsoft of being too defensive in their attempts to protect Windows and as a result are not prepared if technology shifts to other platforms.

      And Analysts were right: After Netscape was defeated, Microsoft practically disbanded the whole Internet Explorer team and missed their unique chance to kill the open web movement in its early stage.

      In the 90ties, people bought a computer to run Microsoft Word. Now they buy a Computer to run Google and Facebook. Enterprise software has shifted to web applications as well, often these are even written on platforms that are independent from the operating system running on the server.

      While Windows will probably still be the main operating system for the next decades, it has become less relevant as a platform for new software.

      So what I’m trying to say is that Microsoft is really just doing what many people suggested they do since the 90ties: They aggressively try to spread new proprietary software solutions other that Windows. Build themselves a new home for the future. Even at the expense of Windows. Most notably attempts are Microsoft Silverlight and their proprietary home appliance, the xbox.

      And I’m sure there is a “Games for Windows” team at Microsoft that’s trying to make kick ass software. It’s just that they have a smaller budget than the xbox live team, and they are most likely not the greatest talents the company has to offer.

      And for the main games division at Microsoft, releasing Alan Wake for Windows makes as much sense as for Nintendo to release Mario Kart for Windows.

    • Jad says:

      Where is the operating system equivalent of Firefox? We desperately need an alternative…

      Well that would be Linux. Which has native clients for some games (I know UT99 & 2004 had them at least) , but for most its a hassle because of DirectX. And ATI has had a history of releasing really poor drivers for Linux (which is one reason why I still stick to nVidia, although I don’t actually use Linux anymore).

      Macs are another alternative, although if you’re using web browsers as your analogy, they’d be more like Opera or something.

    • Nerd Rage says:

      @Tei
      Apparently you completely missed and/or ignored my point that even if MS does go into full blown lockdown mode regarding GFWL and DX## – there’s still OpenGL and such to keep developers going on windows without MS’s certification BS. This was really directed at what seems to me like a crybaby response from Wardell, threatening to take his ball and go home if Microsoft doesn’t start playing nice.

      Now if you want to argue the semantics of whether or not a poor business decision is self-sabotage, go right ahead. That’s always been my favorite indicator of a strong argument. From my perspective, sabotage is intentional, and while I would agree they’ve made some missteps as they attempt to get a handle on the PC gaming market, I’m not cynical enough to believe that these missteps were intentional. Whatever incidental, indirect advantage the 360 may have, hypothetically and for the sake of argument, gained due to this self-sabotage in the PC market – I’m sure they’d be much happier if developers were flocking to GFWL. Two healthy platforms would certainly bring them more money than having one healthy and having one intentionally put down so the other can get more attention.

  8. Smokingkipper says:

    Excuse my utter ignorance, but from a users’ point of view, what exactly is wrong with GFWL? Is it the concept? Or just the poor implementation of an idea? Or maybe because Micorsoft has a hand in it?

    • Smokingkipper says:

      Ok, that will really not do…It was my valiant attempt at being inpartial.

      I have to recount the time when me and my brother tried to get a game of DOW2 Co-op going together with the GFWL chat. I ended up ringing him up and putting the mobile on hands free.

    • Larington says:

      The answer to that question is apparent in the text of this article – Games for Windows Live was originally intended as a way of bringing PC gamers together, IE GAMES FOR WINDOWS, but over time it seems to have been hijacked for use in the XBOX and its ability to be a service for use in PC Gaming was damaged as a result.

      Basically, instead of being something sitting quietly in the background – there only when you want it – it instead chooses to interfere, it gets in the way, if I were to play fallout 3 for example (This may have been fixed since) theres this wierd wall where I can’t load save games saved whilst logged into GFWL if I’m logged out of it (And vice versa), then theres the programs insistence on you logging into it even when you don’t need or want to, etc. etc.

  9. Nick says:

    It really is just a pointless load of shit though isn’t it?

  10. Railick says:

    I'm sorry why is Stardock concerned about GFWL ? WTF Is Impulse for now?

    • Jeremy says:

      It just came up in the course of the interview, so he made a response towards how GFWL has really messed up with their overall strategy. I agree, if GFWL managed to take over as a whole, I think that is something that could really put PC gaming at the bottom for a long time.

  11. Heliosicle says:

    SCREW YOU GFWL!

  12. interesting says:

    Isn’t this the guy that was going to boycott UPS because they were going to boycott Faux News?

    I think this announcement was made just to overshadow that.

  13. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    I caught an article earlier in my semi-slumber state headlined “GFWL: Now easier than ever for Indies to use” or similar.

    My only thought was “why in Gods name would I want to do that?” I’ve got some code-stuff here a friend did porting one of my games across to the 360 and for local testing the PC version uses GFWL. It took me half a day to work out how to set up a local profile, and not much longer to realise that it’s a completely unnecessary piece of horrid user unfriendly kit that I’d *never* inflict on the public given a choice.

    Rotten total point missing stuff it is.

    • ZamFear says:

      If it’s like the article I saw, it’s just Games for Windows certification, which lets you stick a big-ass Games for Windows logo on the box. Not the coincidentally named Games for Windows Live “service.”
      Though GfWL likely requires the GfW certification, there are some developers/publisher who get the certification on their games for marketing reasons (eg Mini Ninjas is GfW certified, but does not use GfWL).

      Link to Joystiq article.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Cheers ZamFear, as I said – I was in a bit of a coma and skipped on by it to find something more interesting so the link is much appreciated.

      Seems I was in even more of a coma than I thought :)

  14. subversus says:

    I hate this service.
    When I bought Gears of War this year and tried to run it, it was impossible because of this stupid 2009 error. The only way to fix tha bug t was to download patch through Live (no stand-alone fix foe my localised edition). But when I tried to do this in-game (by setting my windows clock to 2008 just to run Gears), I wasn’t able to enter Live because it found my current date wrong and barred me from entering the service.
    I HAD to enter Live because I wasn’t abe to save my progress without it. So I alt-tab’ed to Windows, set the date back to 2009, alt-tab’ed back to game (usually it crashes after that, so I was lucky) and then finally got to Live (with screen overriden with strange graphic artefacts).

    But It was only after I spend two hours approx. trying TO REGISTER in it properly, because it’s not supported in my country (I had to setup xbox live site to US and only after that my registration has become active).

    Steam is much, much better system, creating friendly PSN and console Live-like experience. Microsoft should stick to its box instead of ruining PC experience, but that’s a dream.

  15. Irish Al says:

    I saw GFWL punch a baby.

    Of course, all it is is a MS attempt to ultimately charge you for multi-player like on the 360.

  16. Jon says:

    I only encountered GFWL once; the Dawn of War II Beta on Steam.
    This was a multiplayer beta, and so I was forced to:
    - Create a live account. Naturally, the website didn’t work in Firefox. The signup process was generally just long and painful (maybe because I was trying to use a non-microsoft email address.)
    - Open up the live interface. Now I’m not sure why, but this dragged my framerate down to a crawl, and I started to see glitchy black boxes.
    - Login, and then create some kind of sub-account thing. More forms! Yay!
    - Find people to play with. This just took stupidly long. Give me a proper server browser any day over the mindless automatic matchmaking – I don’t mind a quickplay button, but at least give me the choice.
    - Connect to these people. Naturally, the lag was horrible, connection issues disrupted the game, and whenever I managed to click anything some shiny notification would pop up to cover the button I was trying to click.

    To cut the story short, I quickly uninstalled the beta (thank god I didn’t pay for this) and now avoid anything with GFWL on the box like the plague.

  17. Alec Meer says:

    Games For Windows Ate My Hamster gags are all well and good, but genuine reasons why it’s bad news are more likely to convince any devs/pubs who happen to be reading that they should steer clear of the thing.

    It did mug my cat, however. More importantly, its tendency to not work has briefly prevented me from saving my game in both Dawn of War II and Batman Arkham Asylum, ultimately requiring me to start the games over once I’d finally got the awful thing running.

    • nutterguy says:

      I would like to point out here the MAJOR difference between Games for Windows and Games for Windows Live(GFWL).
      Games for windows is one of VERY good things that has been done for PC gaming.
      Among other things it is just a set of standards that games carrying the label have to comply with, things like:
      * An “Easy Install” option
      * Games Explorer intergration
      * Compatible with 64-bit
      * Supports normal and widescreen resolutions properly
      * Supports parental controls
      * Support for the Xbox 360 Controller
      * Games must not disable the ALT+TAB (I know this is a big one for RPS writers)
      * Install to Correct Folders

      On the other hand GFWL is I agree a steaming pile of shite….

      GFW Requirements page is here:
      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee417691%28VS.85%29.aspx

  18. Paul Moloney says:

    I think it’s, um – small voice – OK. Never had a major problem with it, but then the only thing I appear to use it for (in Fallout 3, GTAIV and Batman:AA) is to check my achievements. Never bought anything through it or played multiplayer. Considering that the way it only updates a game _when you try to play it_ is incomparably dumb compared to Steam, I’m quite willing to believe it does many other things stupidly as well. Wasn’t the original project leader unceremoniously fired?

  19. tekDragon says:

    Still baffled as to why you’d need to have GFWL on top of steam. Screw that.

    • Bret says:

      Because Microsoft’s GFWL division is a bunch of worthless ass wipes with enough money to get people to support a useless system.

  20. Lidwoord says:

    At the last GFWL update it insisted I had to do this while in the DoW2 main menu, this took more than 10 minutes with 90% CPU load or higher. Afterwards windows update tried to install the same update as well for about a week, failing miserably.
    The interface is horrible, clunky and confusing and you can only see your “friends” (no real friend would inflict GFWL on you) while ingame. The desktop application of GFWL only allows you to buy things.

  21. Alux says:

    I had to get GFWL for to play Batman: Arkham Asylum, which sucked because I got it through Steam. After about, oh, three hours of setting up an account BECAUSE I WAS DIRECTED TO THE WRONG PAGE, I could play just fine. You know, except for the huge amount of RAM it takes to have Batman and GFWL running at the same time.

    Microsoft should just support Steam, you know, like every PC gamer.

    • Hyudra says:

      Ditto. Got Batman, had to do GfW, it was more hinder than help. I ragequit and nerdraged several times through the process before I finally got to play, and a shift-ctrl-esc revealed that my RAM was peaking with the two programs going at the same time. Brutal. I buy maybe one game a year, and Batman was it – and I probably won’t finish Batman with things in the state they are in now.

      Screw GfW.

  22. Railick says:

    When I was a baby GFWL punched me! Time traveling witchrogram.

  23. J. Prevost says:

    I’m another one of those people who’s never had a bad GfWL experience because I’ve avoided buying any GfWL-enabled games like it was the clap.

  24. F_t_R says:

    Dawn of War 2 requires me to sign in to this every time I want to play, adding about 30 seconds on before I can get going.

    The other annoying thing is that when I created my profile I wasn’t really thinking about it too much and just put in a nonsensical handle, thinking I would change it if I ever played online. About 6 months later I got a 360 and signed in to live with my hotmail account, only to find that if I now want to change that handle I have to pay for the privilege! Ok so I could just register a new email account, but just the principle of having to pay for something as simple as a name change, which PC games can do as often as they like, is ridiculous.

  25. Dan says:

    GFWL is a god damned abortion of a UI experience.

    I still, to this day, cannot get a voice chat session running. It -never- works and is impossible to explain the process to non-techies.

    Why DoW2 didn’t use Steam I haven’t a clue. I usually end up just setting up a voice chat in steam for DoW2 anyhow.

  26. Daniel Rivas says:

    GFWL doesn’t work. Perhaps they should make it work.

  27. Ginger Yellow says:

    “I would even see my own friends in the press–and I don’t have much of a social life, so people in the press are my friends”

    Ouch.

    Anyway, I thought his comments on sales numbers were more interesting. Both the “approaching 1m” for Sins, and the OEM stuff. Why on earth would a graphics card manufacturer want to bundle GalCiv. It’s an awesome game, but it doesn’t exactly show off your amazing new shader tech. Still, good on Stardock for wangling that deal. And then there’s the Amazon stuff. If that 100 sales at the top of the charts thing is true, that’s pretty scary. I know that book sales on Amazon drop off precipitously outside the best sellers, but if the top selling game is only shifting that number in a week, nobody’s going to make much money off it. I suppose there are plenty of online retailers, and loads of people are buying through Steam, so it all adds up, but even so.

  28. Railick says:

    I'm still wanting to know why Stardock cares about GFWL when they have Impulse.

    • bookwormat says:

      impulse does not have network services and APIs like GfWL, Steam or Battlenet do. There is not much networking infrastrukture in impulse, and there is not much experience in making multiplayer games within Stardock.

  29. Hug_dealer says:

    Personally dont have any more problems with gfwl, than i did with steam, which is not much.

    sure there are problems people run into, but mostly it is user, or thier computer based, not microsofts fault, kinda like the problems with steam people have.

    Dow 2 uses both steam and gfwl because they wanted steam to provide the hosting of the game for patches and only have 1 version of the game instead of making different patches for different ones, steam, d2d, hard disk, etc etc.

    At the time, steam did not provide match making. So They went with GFWL, which provided the match making, and also provide some funding, help for devs that use gfwl.

    The only complaint i have about gfwl, is that they take more time to cert patches, so patches take longer.

  30. Real Horrorshow says:

    His complete inability to reference a game not made by Stardock is annoying.

  31. Railick says:

    It is only an option for the publishers and devs not for the customer. The only option they have is to not play the game :P that isn't much of an option at all if you ask me.

  32. subedii says:

    Well for starters, let’s head back to DoW2. Relic repeatedly stated before launch that they weren’t going with the “mega-patch” mentalitiy that plagued Company of Heroes. Instead, they’d be opting for smaller, far more regular patches in order to address issues that came up.

    Of course, because of GFWL, this is completely out the window. Relic cannot release small, regular patches because each and every update not only has to go through MS certification, but has to be paid for as well. The result? Back to game breaking mega-patches and waiting months on end for the next update. This ironically, completely goes against the point of using Steam, since THAT system was originally conceived with fast and consistent patching in mind.

    Voice support on GFWL is a complete joke. Aside from not working properly (every time I’ve tried it simply crapped out altogether, I have to stick with either using Vent or Steam voice chat), they’ve very much stuck with the XBL mentality in that there is no push-to-talk support, it’s all-talk or nothing. Grief, this has only been a standard feature of PC games for over a decade. Relic actually patched in push-to-talk in Dawn of War 2, but it’s stuck natively on the Tilde key and can’t be rebound. Not. Useful. At. All.

    Let’s see, what other problems. Developments to the system aren’t designed with making the system better, just pathetic attempts at making it more proiftable whilst missing the most obvious flaws. It is beyond belief that GFWL still has NO external client, you have to be in-game to access your friends lists or modify anything. The last TWO updates saw revisions to an external client, but that was only for GFWL marketplace, and it has no other functionality besides. That’s right, they went to all the trouble of creating an external client for GFWL but gave it no functionality except the ability to process micropayments. I can’t call that anything other than stupid, it was an opportunity waiting to happen and they still refuse to take it. The last GFWL update even made that obsolete since micropayments are now available in-game. Still no updates to other parts of the architecture though.

    Oh yes, micropayments, let’s vent on that a bit. I’m an adult with a bank account and card, why do I have to invest in 1000 MS “points” in order to purchase DLC? It’s a system designed purely with nickle-and-diming in mind, you can’t purachase the DLC directly for cash sums, and you can’t even pay the exact amount in MS points, you have to buy them in 500 and 1000 point increments when your DLC costs something like 800. Whenever I go on Steam I don’t have to plonk down for 1000 Newells in order to buy anything there

    Are those sufficient reasons for you? How about GFWL constantly eating savegames when it loses access to the system (This problem happened with both Gears of War AND Fallout 3, although I haven’t personally suffered it with Dawn of War 2). Or the GFWL TrueSkill matchmaking that constantly matches new people against seasoned professionals (DoW2 again). I could go on.

    I’m ranting. But the truth is that this isn’t surprising, it’s actually pretty natural. MS at first tried to make money with GFWL by breaking basic multiplayer support and charging for “extra” features (and by extra, I mean standard). When that didn’t work, there was no real profitability to be had from the system anymore. Ultimately, investment goes where the money is, and that’s not GFWL, it’s XBL, the service that they can actually charge a subscription for.

  33. jonfitt says:

    I just can’t see what GFWL is supposed to offer that we didn’t have before? It certainly doesn’t offer the online community aspect that XBL does since there’s no client and it only runs in game.

    I heard that it has been chosen for some recent RTSs because of it’s middleware peer-to-peer matchmaking and connection aspect. But if that’s the sole reason, I can’t believe that it is the best on offer.

    If it is the best around then there’s a gaping hole for someone to move in and clean up. Valve could add it to Steamworks, for example.

  34. trindermon says:

    What makes me laugh is… Services like Steam and Impluse are content delivery services with community functions. Games for windows live as ONE thing going for it, and its that it is a great Peer 2 Peer Match making technology – something that steam and impulse dont do.

    Lets put it this way, Had demigod used the technology, would its multiplayer been the huge steaming pile of rubbish it was at release? that game was almost robbery its online functionality was so bad.

    Its pretty un-intrusive only starts when a game starts; friends list is shared with your xbox if you have one, whats to hate? Sure its not the best thing in the world, but i dont see what there is to hate. especially when no oher service does what it does at a technical level on the peer to peer front?

    • lumpi says:

      You will learn to hate it, when you have to wait 3 weeks longer for every game update because it has to go through a “Microsoft certification process” first. You will learn to hate it when Microsoft decides to re-introduce a $15 “premium subscription” fee to access “premium content”. It is also beyond me why I need GFWL to save a game? Why GTA4 on Steam now needs to run THREE programs (Steam, GFWL and “Social Club”).

      If you just enjoy the soothing “not-so-badness” of GFWL now, I envy you for your irrepressible optimism, but you might want to look up the history of the Microsoft corporation while playing the Propellerhead’s “History Repeating” in the background.

    • subedii says:

      With respect to trindermon, have you actually played Dawn of War 2 online (as of the moment, the only PC game I’m aware of that makes use of TrueSkill matchmaking)?

      The implementation is a joke. In theory it’s supposed to have people playing against each other at the same levels. So why is it that my last match was against a group of TS 1′s and 2′s (i.e. complete new people), where the absolute lowest on my team was a TS12?

      See the problem is people keep talking about how well TS matchmaking works. And I’m sure it does, on the 360. I’ve heard about how brilliant it is there. Which makes it all the more frustrating that for some reason it doesn’t do its job here, on the PC.

  35. lumpi says:

    Oh my, turns out the cynics amongst us were completely right.

    GFWL is a pathetic attempt of Microsoft to similarly control the games business on their Windows platform as they do on the XBox.

  36. FunkyB says:

    I have played two GFWL games, on two separate OSs, and in both cases it prevented me from playing the game.

    1. DoW2, Windows XP
    Would not accept CD key, just sat there with the ‘submit’ button blinking no matter how often I clicked. Had to switch to a newly created Windows account to get it to work. Switching every time just to play a game is annoying.

    2. Arkham Asylum, Win7
    Totally fresh Windows 7 install. When I run the game GFWL pops up saying I need to update it, but the update never completes. I have not found a resolution to this, forcing me to create an ‘offline account’ so I can’t use any online features. I presume this will affect all other GFWL games on my Win7 install, but I will be avoiding it in the future.

    Steam works, GoG works, GFWL just doesn’t.

    • FunkyB says:

      Oh and lets not forget that if you switch OS / user or reinstall anything you can’t move your saves across like you can with EVERY OTHER GAME IN HISTORY! It makes me so mad that such a buggy pile of crud is being used by developers.

    • Christian says:

      Hmm..I’m not sure about those savegams…aren’t they stored locally in the profile’s directory somewhere? If I remember, I moved my GTA4-savegames without a problem. But that might as well just be my memory getting worse..

  37. Christian says:

    So…I’m not sure I did understand him right there. Is he really saying there that he’ll stop making PC-games if GFWL keeps on existing or getting more games?

    Yeah, that’ll show ‘em. Why not just choose another platform?

    But regarding GFWL:

    It’s just a inferior platform, not thought through and lousily implemented. It doesn’t add any real value to games, it gets in the way and it just seems unfinished (even after all those years). And the worst part is: it uses some weird Microsoft make-believe money..why not let me pay with real money? That’s just a scam.

    Also, seeing that i prevents me from buying DLC for Fallout 3 (I’ve got the English (original/uncut) version, but live in Germany), I don’t see myself buying anything that uses that system ever again. GTA4 was another example: If you bought it over Steam, you’d still have to use that system (although that’s the publisher’s poor choice).

    GFWL, nobody needs you, there are better alternatives out there.

    And I guess that’s just the point: wouldn’t it have the money and backup from Microsoft’s XBox Live, it would never have had a chance in a free market. It would just have vanished by now. And that’s a great part of the hate it’s getting: Microsoft pushing some inferior product into the market without caring if it’s any good.

    Also, it ate my homework back when I was in school.

    • Christian says:

      Oh yeah: Also the German site for GFWL is so outdated. I haven’t checked for a while, but the last time, well after the release of GTA4, it still just showed three games. And the login didn’t work (and no usefull information was to be found).

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      No, he said he wouldn’t make PC games if GfWL “maintains that strategy and they take over” (emphasis mine).

      I.e. if his options ever came down to “make GfWL PC games” or “don’t make PC games”, he’d pick the latter.

    • Christian says:

      Aah, ok. Thanks for making that clear. It seems I was a bit confused there…

  38. Zaphid says:

    The easiest way to get Fallout 3 DLC was to pirate them and stick them into your F3 folder, without GFWL getting into the way, that alone speaks for itself. It’s terrible system and I haven’t used it since DoW2 beta.

    Blizzard is developing some content distribution with the Battle.net 2.0, which could be easily expanded to other Activision titles, Valve has Steam which could add p2p multiplayer support with steamcloud quite easily, at least it seems that way. I’m sure Stardock could come up with something too. When a piece of middleware is the sole reason you are NOT going to buy a game (Batman AA), you have a problem.

    It’s not DRM that eats babies, it’s GFWL!

  39. Hug_dealer says:

    i can understand alot of the criticisms with gfwl here, and they are for the most part valid. Alot of the complaints are problems with the software, may or may not be the fault of microsoft. Others dont like the clunkiness. Some think it is just trying to take and make money.
    There is not a better match making service available to devs out there at the moment. So i would rather have decent match making than none at all.
    Steam is far from perfect also. It is worse for dow 2 than gfwl. Anytime steam loses its authentication, it ends the match being played. so those times when your friends list is losing connection every 5-10 minutes, you cant play.
    Every online service has its ups and downs. Yes gfwl is trying to make money, why wouldnt they? Steam is trying to make money also. So is gamespy, so is stardock. you cannot make a multiplayer matchmaking service and not make money, cause you will eventually no longer exist.
    I guess im fine with it, because everything works for me. from voice chat, to match making, and updating. I actually prefer not having push to talk button in dow 2. im already pushing enough buttons as is.
    If you are complaining about true skill match making, you need to blame relic. They are the ones that control how and what it does. Microsoft only provides the server. Relic has been improving match making with every patch.
    I love how microsoft is the fall guy for all the problems, but its never anyone elses fault about anything. Its microsofts fault that i imported a game, and cannot buy content that is illegal in my country. Its microsofts fault that something is wrong on my computer and it will not update. Its microsofts fault that the match making is broken, even though it is control by someone else. Microsoft cause patches to take 3 weeks longer, but steam isnt bad because they take a month or more to patch thier steam downloaded games, than when the original patch comes out. Its just cool to hate microsoft.

    • TheSombreroKid says:

      Match makng on dow2 is aweful, this is my only experience with gfwl matchmaking.

      The gfwl servers being down stops you from playing your games just as much as the steam servers being down, i couldn’t play singleplayer batman the other day because of fucking gfwl!.

    • subedii says:

      With respect, my issue is NOT that GFWL is trying to make money, I stated that the problem is that GFWL can’t make any money. No money = no investment. Steam is Valve’s business, it’s in their benefit to improve the system. It is not in Microsoft’s interests to improve GFWL, that money would be better spent investing in XBL. A system which works incredibly well, and is continually improving. The comparison between the two is night and day.

      Regarding how it’s better than Steam because Steam kills the game, I’m sorry, I have no idea where you’re coming from with this. I’ve happily been able to play Dawn of War 2 when Steams’ been down, so you’re just plain wrong there. I can’t play it online, but that applies equally to GFWL when that goes down.

      Leaving that aside, it’s most certainly an issue when they force devs to pay for updates and go through a month long certification process. That really kills attempts at balancing online games. Valve spots a problem in TF2, it’s patched within a week. Relic is notified of a problem with Dawn of War 2, it can’t be fixed until the next major update 2 months down the line, and you’ve got to hope that balance updated didn’t break anything else in the meantime (here’s a hint, it did, and always will when you’re dealing with mega-patches).

      You love not having push to talk? Fine, guess what, a lot of other people do to. The problem is every other game gives you the freaking option because it is and has been standard for years now, essentially since PC games started supporting voice talk. You might “like” the fact that this option is not available for some reason, I don’t. And I don’t see how including it would disrupt yourgame. My sole experience with GFWL voice coms when it is on is unnending streams of static and mouth-breathing noises coming from players because they can’t turn off voice coms. It is a very legitimate complaint, saying that you yourself don’t have a problem with it doesn’t dismiss that.

  40. MajorManiac says:

    To play devils advocate; at least by making a total pigs ear of GFWL microsoft have forced companies to experiment with their own distribution systems (such as impulse), and thus have inadvertantly improved the overall experience of PC Gaming.

    Thank God for GFWL being soo bad it has caused developers to create their own download services. Once again the PC proves to be dynamic enough to step around any such problem.

    • Tei says:

      Only … the timming is different. These paltforms where created after XBox Live show the world how a integrated multiservice feel, and before GFWL tried to provide that in a bloated and stupid way to PC.
      How you think Steam has been created after GFWL is strange.

    • MajorManiac says:

      To be fair its been a long day. But what I mean is there seems to be a general move away from a centralised distibution of games and I think GFWL has only succeeded in speeding this up.

  41. MrSnoobs says:

    Ok, no-one has really asked/answered this question and my ignorance may be symptomatic of my general duncicality (new word?) but why is GFWL necessary ever? I appreciate the benefit of a platform like Steam but GFWL never seemed to offer that kind of sophistication. All I ever got was a flashing bar at the top of the screen when I started a game, and that’s it. Games lived without these things before Steam et al came along, so why would a developer willingly submit to a service that THEY have to pay to use which cripples the game?

    Personal anecdote? Ever try porting a save game from the PC version of GTA IV? My advice: don’t bother. Before some genius invented a tool to help you do this, you needed to edit a file in HEX just to get GFWL to recognise your save game. Hopeless.

  42. TheSombreroKid says:

    i used to be the biggest gfwl advocate on here, but now, i have to say, there’s a lot of things i don’t like about it.

  43. Gemski says:

    GFWL did some good things. Standardize the use of Xbox controller (doesn’t have to be Microsoft made). Before that, game pad setup for PC games was rather annoying. I like having my Xbox friends linked to the PC side. Handles achievements well.

    The fact that Microsoft limits pc updates should actually be viewed as a good thing too. PC devs have been pretty sloppy about patches for far too long. So many games just ship with the notion that they’ll just patch it on launch. Then the first month you get like four patches that should have happened before it went gold.

    • Azradesh says:

      Multiplayer games need many micro updates for blance reason, and the PC hardware market changes often. MS limiting updates is not a good idea in anyway shape or form. Get a clue.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      You’re confusing GFW with GFWL. See above posts.
      .
      Oh, and re: "get a clue"… while GFWL-bashing (and MS-bashing) is pretty much encouraged by the fact that this entire article is about Wardell bashing it, I gather that other-RPS-commentor-bashing is not.

  44. trindermon says:

    Yes i have, I think street fighter also uses the same match making (dont quote me on that tho), i think the problem stems from the fact that to lots of people “Skill matching” equates to “i am skill matched why arnt i winning all the time”.

    the same thing happened in quake live, people complained because in skill matched matches they werent winning all the time.

    to me my skill bracket should offer me the chance to get better, that means playing people who are slightly better than me, but not god like. Nobody ever got better by winning all the time.

    Skill matching is a touchey subject for me, i am big in to quake live, and it really was the case that people complained about the skill matching because they thought it ment they should win most of the time.

    PS: Dawn of War2 is great fun online, and i am pretty terrible. If Brad had stumped up & tested his game more, he wouldnt have needed litterally tens of patched in the first month of demigods life. The games multiplayer support was base robbery for the money we paid. Did it ever occur to him that given better testing, and the willingness to pay the piper, he would have sold a zillion more copys cause the inital reviews of the game and the word of mouth wouldnt have been “the multiplayer does not work dont bother”.

    ALL of the first 5 patches for Demigod were due to the multiplayer plain not working. And with all due respect, if he does not want to under stand networking or then he has to realise that he needs to ether pay a 3rd party to do so, or go on to make sholey single player games, because this is the marketplace we live in.

    With all that said, i wish microsoft would loose up and allow developers more freedom; they do need to change; i am not saying they dont. I am just trying to say it sounds like depsite MS being stupid, Frogboy wants something for free, and is unwilling to accept that the peer to peer expertise comes at a cost in terms of finance. I wholey think that demigod would have probably sold at least 50% more copys had it included a built proof multiplayer – and would have not needed a bazzilion patches withing the first 60 days.

    As for needing to sign in to save your GTA games, i could be wrong (and will admit if i am) but i am pretty sure that is down to how the developer has implemented the GFWL platform in to the game, its not required for other GFWL games to play single player. Thats down to the developer implementing the intergration badly.

    /Theo

  45. Hypocee says:

    It was great when my brother couldn’t play his Steam copy of Section 8 for several hours of forum-trawling and operating system diagnosis. It turns out GFWL’s installer and uninstaller were neither overwriting nor removing its directory in Program files and some contents – little, insignificant stuff like client.exe. Competence!

  46. Hug_dealer says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    With respect, my issue is NOT that GFWL is trying to make money, I stated that the problem is that GFWL <i>can’t</i> make any money. No money = no investment. Steam is Valve’s <i>business</i>, it’s in their benefit to improve the system. It is not in Microsoft’s interests to improve GFWL, that money would be better spent investing in XBL. A system which works <i>incredibly</i><i> well, and is continually improving. The comparison between the two is night and day.

    Regarding how it’s better than Steam because Steam kills the game, I’m sorry, I have no idea where you’re coming from with this. I’ve happily been able to play Dawn of War 2 when Steams’ been down, so you’re just plain wrong there. I can’t play it </i><i>online</i>, but that applies equally to GFWL when that goes down.

    Leaving that aside, it’s most certainly an issue when they force devs to pay for updates and go through a month long certification process. That really kills attempts at balancing online games. Valve spots a problem in TF2, it’s patched within a week. Relic is notified of a problem with Dawn of War 2, it can’t be fixed until the next major update 2 months down the line, and you’ve got to hope that balance updated didn’t break anything else in the meantime (here’s a hint, it did, and always will when you’re dealing with mega-patches).

    You love not having push to talk? Fine, guess what, a lot of other people do to. The problem is every other game gives you the freaking <i>option</i> because it is and has been standard for years now, essentially since PC games started supporting voice talk. You might “like” the fact that this option is not available for some reason, I don’t. And I don’t see how including it would disrupt <i>your</i>game. My sole experience with GFWL voice coms when it <i>is</i> on is unnending streams of static and mouth-breathing noises coming from players because they can’t turn off voice coms. It is a very legitimate complaint, saying that you yourself don’t have a problem with it doesn’t dismiss that.

    Valve can patch thier own games very quickly. 3rd party devs cannot. if you bought a game from steam, it requires its own patch from steam. Steam takes forever to patch other developers games, there have been times when steam has been behind 2 patches worth for a game. Sometimes taking over a month. So your lil comment does not even hold water.

    Relic knew that was a problem and then made all games tied to steam. so they only have to make 1 patch instead of 4 or 5. They fixed one of steams biggest problems.

    if you set up your voice threshold properly, they cant tell you are breathing. there is even a control for that in GFWL. Another user error.

    • subedii says:

      Steam requires a separate patch, however, it does not require a month long certification process, hence the problem. Multiplayer games need to be updated quickly and regularly, and having to not only go through this process, but pay for it each time, is a major issue that needs to be addressed. Zeno Clash managed to be updated really freaking fast when they wanted to fix something.

      And yes, I have configured myvoice volume, thanks for assuming otherwise. It doesn’t stop the GFWL voice coms from crapping out altogether on me repeatedly. I’ve got maybe 6-7 guys on my friends list that I play DoW with, and each of us has opted to either use Vent or Steam chat for games simply because GFWL voice chat refuses to work. If everything else works fine, but GFWL doesn’t, yeah, I’m going to call issues on that. And that still doesn’t dismiss the point of it needing a push-to-talk option.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      BTW, RPS-folks… you may want to unify the tags you support on the forums and the tags you support on the main site. When someone posts on the main site with a bunch of “i” tags, they can no longer edit their post on the forum side without changing them all to “em” tags. Same if someone block quotes them on the forum side.

      This is in addition to that whole issue where editing on the forum side nukes all your paragraph breaks and requires that you do silly stuff like “para1(newline).(newline)para2″.

  47. Tei says:

    All this shitstorm to sells certifications. Shame. Microsoft you guys have no moral or taste!. BAD!

  48. Alexander Norris says:

    I’ve skimmed the comments and will proceed to read the rest thoroughly when I’ve posted this, but: the greatest problem with GfWL is that it’s yet another layer that forcefully inserts itself inbetween the gamer and his legally-purchased game. I already have to sign into Steam to play Dawn of War II; I don’t want to have to sign into GfWL as well, doubly so when the game makes it mandatory for me to be signed in in order to do anything, promptly disabling the game I paid for if there’s a technical glitch on anyone’s end.

    It boils down to this: GfWL is Microsoft trying to cash in on the “arbitrarily DRM restrictions” front too late, because someone saw the way Steam essentially locks us out of our games if we can’t connect to Valve’s system and decided that this was a good idea for the corporate chaps. The problem is, GfWL isn’t integrated into the OS like Xbox Live is integrated into the 360; it doesn’t work properly, and when it does, it lacks half the features that Steam has and which make Steam tolerable (IM, a workable friends list and an invite system that isn’t sending emails, for pity’s sake – contrary to the console types, we have keyboards). Except by coming to this party late, Microsoft missed the point and missed the boat, and we can only tolerate so many anally-restrictive systems.

    What GfWL should have been is a standard into which other digital distribution systems can integrate. Microsoft already provide the OS that 99% of gamers use; it should have been their job to make it easier for different digital distribution clients to work on this same platform, so that games could work with Impulse or Steam or [other DD client here] rather than trying to force console-like restrictions onto PC gaming.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Quickly clarifying two points: a) GfWL’s profile system ties your saves to your profiles, so if the system is down and you log in with an “offline” profile, you won’t have access to your saves; if you log in with a different profile, you won’t have access to your saves; and heaven forbid the game just plain not let you play unless you’re logged in (hello, DoWII skirmish); and b) Steam’s offline mode is often broken, and I wouldn’t be surprised if fixing it isn’t one of Valve’s priorities.

      Either way, both of these place unnecessary restrictions on the player. By contrast, Impulse is only required to install and update games, and you can play something like Demigod regardless of whether Impulse is down.

    • Tei says:

      In “defense” of Microsoft theres a system that supposedly helps downloading stuff (part of what you ask for), made by microsoft. The BITS service. The problem with it is that It have a tendency to download 8 GB at 4KB speed for no reason at all, like some people suffered with AION.

      It seems that custom made downloaders are better and fasters and more reliable than what microsoft provide.

  49. CaptainHairy says:

    The Batman update would have finished, but it was downloading 500MB+ from Microsoft’s criminally slow servers. It took me 5 hours to get everything up to date when I’d downloaded Batman. It only took me 2 hours to download THE ENTIRE GAME of 8GB+.

    • CaptainHairy says:

      Oh wow, this was supposed to be in reply to a post above, where the guy can’t get Batman updated. Stupid reply button failed at its only freakin’ job.

  50. M$_$UX says:

    Keep that Live POS on X-Box please, and away from PCs!

    I can’t believe M$ has the nerve to even pretend they’re doing PC gaming any good, when they’re clearly actively seeking to destroy it (and yes I realize it’s not just M$).

    Well said, Brad Wardell.