The Strange Fate Of Games For Windows Live

By Alec Meer on July 4th, 2011 at 10:47 am.

If in doubt, relaunch.

This is odd. Well, I say “odd”, but baffling, userbase-offending marketing decisions seem to be story of Games For Windows Live’s short, obtuse life.

The short story: Games For Windows Live Marketplace is moving to Xbox.com

The long story: Huh?

So: this is going to be merged with this. A PC download store will be merged with an Xbox download store.

You may observe that “Games For Windows” and “Games For Xbox” are not the same thing. You would be right to observe this. Hasn’t stopped ‘em!

Here’s the only explanation offered so far:

“Games for Windows Marketplace will fully transition over to Xbox.com. Now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated, and it’s a whole lot of great games.”

Yes, having to go to a different website when I wanted to buy a game for a different format was horribly inconvenient and unconcentrated. Thank goodness they’ve cleared that one up. Having one less site on the internet is going to make matters so much clearer.

Speculation engines gogo, then. Could this be:

a) a stealth mercy-kill for the forever-troubled GFW Live?
b) An attempt to make overall Xbox marketplace game numbers higher, as some sort of weeing competition with some other platform?
c) An attempt to bolster GFWL sales by hoping Xbox gamers accidentally buy a PC game? Or simply piggy-backing on the better-known name in the hope of greater success?
d) A sign that more cross-platform games are impending? (“No.”)
e) Just a marketing decision that sounded good at the time but looks bizarre in the cold, harsh light of internet daylight?

Either way, it rather looks like Games For Windows Live (or at least its store) is, while not yet being retired, backgrounded somewhat. Is this a good thing? Well, I’d rather they worked on making it as good as possible rather than killed it, but I’m struggling to imagine that being subsumed by Xboxery signals it’s going to get more rather than less TLC. We shall see, I guess.

How bizarre.

(Thanks to all the folks who sent this in). YOU ARE THE REAL HEROES.

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113 Comments »

  1. terry says:

    Microsoft is like the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, if they can’t see PC gaming, it doesn’t exist.

    • BooleanBob says:

      The RBBoT is a notorious 360 fanboy, though. You should see his Eurogamer posting history.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Well, there’s been rumors about Windows 8 having an XBox360 emulator or something, which would imply D…

    • johnpeat says:

      They’re more like Hagunennons really – they keep evolving into something better suited for their current fame of mind

      but which is quite incapable of drinking the coffee

    • Dreamhacker says:

      @Raiyan:

      An Xbox-emulator would make near-zero sense financially. Launch a way underpriced software replacement for expensive hardware? Preposterous!

      It would be great for gamers though. Especially with save states. I love my save state scumming…

    • psyk says:

      Buy an xbox, soft mod it, enjoy.

    • RenegadeRed says:

      Microsoft release UNDERPRICED software? Oh no no my dear friend you don’t seem to know the devilish would-be-overlords at Microsoft very well do you… their idea of software pricing is selling a “new” OS for $300 which is just a retread of the same OS they’ve released before. If Windows 8 is Xbox compatible, you can bet they will charge greedily for that compatibility – no doubt another bullet point to put on their product box and displayed with pride.

      Soulless behemoths like Microsoft work in segments called “departments” and their latest move seems pretty obvious to me: they just eliminated the Gays for Windows Live department, fired it outright (deservedly so), and now what little market remains has been swallowed by a larger, more successful department called Xbox Live. It’s that simple really, just a corporate restructuring.

    • InternetBatman says:

      An official Xbox emulator would make a ton of sense for MS if you had to pay for Xbox Live.

    • Ankou says:

      If Microsoft does release an emulator with 8 they will probably only allow a few older games. Like a 360 demo. Get a little taste, and now you get to buy an xBox and a kinect.

    • donmilliken says:

      Who knows if the rumors are true or not, but a 360 emulator for Windows 8 makes plenty of sense. By the time Windows 8 is available to the general public, Microsoft will likely have announced the Xbox 720 (or whatever they end up choosing to call it) so effect on hardware sales won’t really be any issue while this would keep 360 software selling and provide addition revenue for Xbox live as you’d no doubt need a Live Gold account to play the games online.

      Plus, if certain 360 and XBLA games are never going to be officially released for PC, then I suppose this is the next best solution.

    • Kent says:

      At least it’s better than forcing DirectX to license their latest stuff exclusively to Windows 8.

    • kickme22 says:

      @Kent Microsoft OWNS DirectX Microsoft is the sole producer/developer of directx (the only truly good product they make outside of photsynth )

  2. Guiscard says:

    I bet E. I’d like to put my money on A, but E seems the most realistic when it comes to Microsoft these days.

    EDIT: Stop changing the letters for the points!

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Microsoft’s real reason for this is to enhance the Xbox brand with the outstanding reputation and consumer confidence of Games for Windows Live.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      A&E sounds like a good place to send GFWL.

    • Jumwa says:

      Dohohoho!

      Almost as amusing as that quip is the fact that it took this long for anyone to notice the news.

      Also, after repeated frustrations that have filled a deep well of hate for Games for Windows Live, I took a dive in again with Fable III, since it was on sale for 50% off. And after all this time, the newest updates and tweakings to make it better, I can come back and say: GFWL is still a steaming piece of shit. In my partner and I’s short time playing Fable III we both suffered numerous errors and problems all stemming from GFWL.

      GFWL also seemed to enjoy getting the DLC we purchased as frustrating as possible too. I kept having installation errors with it that then prompted me to delete the DLC and redownload. Upon deletion, it then automatically deleted other DLCs and started auto-downloading those again too for no apparent reason. Then we got some lovely errors where we couldn’t play Fable III together because we weren’t running the same DLC.

      And that was all before we actually got into the game, upon which the issues only mounted.

  3. jon_hill987 says:

    I must admit it was terribly confusing to have to leave the XBox site and go to the games for Windows site when I wanted to buy a game for Windows. I’m glad they fixed this issue and cleared things up.

  4. paco says:

    Pretty sure the only thing I’ve bought on GFWL is the Fallout 3 DLC packs.

    Been forced to use it with tons of games on Steam. Maybe this move will kill the in game GFWL application that Microsoft has been shoveling onto certain titles for several years now.

  5. Forceflow says:

    I think they’re basicly piggy-backing on the better known name.

    Also, since Microsoft started “buy a PC, get an Xbox360 free”, it would make sense to offer people one account to buy games for both systems on.

    • deanb says:

      But you already can. You can even use the same account that buys PC and Xbox games to buy PC software too. A Live account is quite a flexible thing.

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    They should just rename it “Games From Microsoft” or “Games For Microsoft”…

    Though since Windows 8 is apparently getting an App-store… it seems like there’s going to be a 3rd store into the mix soon enough (whether it includes games or not… though not including games would be weird).

  7. frenz0rz says:

    Kill it. Kill it with fire.

  8. Icarus says:

    I’d love it to be A, but I’m guessing E.

  9. Meat Circus says:

    “I’d rather they worked on making it as good as possible rather than killed it”

    Weirdo.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    Merging isn’t exactly the correct word – they’ve been the same service since day 1. This just makes it a bit more official.

  11. BebopBraunbaer says:

    gossip says windows 8 will be able to play xbox 360 games

    • Alien426 says:

      …and some would discard that rumor outight, while I say: Since they lose/lost money on the hardware (see The Register, Joystiq) and since they have RROD problems, it might behoove them to make some money on the games and strengthen their Win 8 selling arguments. Remember that a lot of people are still on XP.

    • MDevonB says:

      Windows 8 is running on x86, x64, and at least 3 variations of ARM as is. The chance of them emulating PowerPC on 5 architectures to run 360 games seems extremely slim. Even Apple finally quit emulating PowerPC.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Alien 426

      Exactly my thought. Why lose money on hardware just to sell games when you can sell them online?

    • caesarbear says:

      Bhazor, that article is six years old. None of the console makers take a loss on the hardware anymore. It still true that the profit on them is very thin though, at least the box itself. The accessories make plenty of profit.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Ceaserbear

      Have they recovered the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research yet?

      A profit on hardware? Maybe there’s a profit in the controllers but certainly not for the Kinect or the console. If you take R&D (an eight or nine figure sum each) into account neither will break even. They make money from taking a cut of the software sales.
      As far as peripherals go I’m sure Microsoft earns more profit from their mice and PC hardware than they make from their XBox hardware.

  12. Premium User Badge

    KingKrapp says:

    Someone missed the Ballmer Peak, I’d say.

  13. markcocjin says:

    Microsoft being a publicly traded company cannot compete on the same risky level as Valve. They cannot leverage the merits of giving gamers what they want. They must satisfy their stockholders with guaranteed profit strategies.

    They’re moving everything to XBox because Windows 8 will have it built-in like Windows Media Player. They are going to sell you the benefits of an “ecosystem” where everything is interconnected from your console, to your PC, to your phone.

    What they will not do is let XBox console gamers migrate over to PC gaming. XBox exclusives will remain console only. Hardware sales are too big for Microsoft to give up.

    • Milky1985 says:

      What they might do is a special type of licencing, if you pay for a specific edition of windows you get the xbox functionality (assuming you have the correct hardware – which will be very specifically laid out)

    • Meat Circus says:

      They *can*, they just won’t.

      For a start, their CEO is a borderline imbecile.

      Secondly, Microsoft does not, never has, is constitutionally incapable of, innovation in any capacity. They are a company without taste, without foresight, without creativity, without a working theory of mind.

    • skurmedel says:

      Their research division begs to differ.

    • HerrSanders says:

      Yeah it’s just part of them uniting the branding of their entertainment services across their ’3 screen’ ecosystem. Windows Phone games are already under the Xbox name so this is just the next step for it. I imagine come Windows 8 there may be participating PC games that are Xbox Live enabled, so in the future you can add points and achievements by playing games on your PC, your console or your phone.

    • Meat Circus says:

      I’d say Microsoft Research is in an interesting case in point. They spends millions on paying smart people to come up with cool stuff. And then totally ignore it all and release another version of Windows and Office.

      Tragic.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Markcocjin

      Hardware sales?
      Console makers make a loss on every sale.
      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/24/xbox360_component_breakdown/
      They make their money from licensing software for it.

      @Meatcircus
      Kinect says hi.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Microsoft bought Kinect in from an Israeli company called PrimeSense. Cool as Kinect’s technology is, in the hands of dreary, unimaginative, shonky old Microsft it’s not going anywhere. As their E3 hilarifest showed, which is what we might have guessed: they have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

    • Starky says:

      Microsoft may not be original, but when it comes to hardware they make pretty much the best peripherals going, at least in terms of build quality, comfort, and durability.

      Software wise there is a reason they are king too – not just because of the brand, but because no one can even come close to them in terms of OS quality for the masses on an open system.
      The only way others can compete is with closed systems (such as with mac OS), or scattershot like Linux – which is about as user friendly as car filled metal spikes, and while great for Engineering nerds like me, or other computer geeks – I’d never ever recommend it to my mother or sister.

      As the old saying goes any friend who recommends Linux, isn’t a friend

      People can hate Microsoft all they want, but no one is even coming close to doing better than them at what they do.

    • Decimae says:

      No, Starky, Microsoft is king because all the software is there. I’d be using Ubuntu now if it weren’t for the games.

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      They definitely want to associate Xbox live more closely with the PC by giving people some form of connection between Consoles, Phone and PC.

      My thinking is they see Chrome and OSX as threats to windows as the de facto PC gaming platform and they want to give gamers a reason to stick with Windows.

      Microsoft may be willing to take a short term hit while everyone is confused in the hopes of having a healthy Xbox Live up and running for the Windows 8 launch.

      Of course this leads to a few questions:

      Will publishers whose games that use GFLW for their multiplayer and DLC sales be willing to take the hit along with them?

      Will the EU allow Xbox Live a free ride with Windows 8? (I have a feeling Steam, Impulse, Origin ..etc will have something to say about that).

      Will PC gamers who’ve been immensely frustrated by GFWL be willing to try it?

    • psyk says:

      @meat
      Who really gives a shit? What did you expect them to do with it exactly? the SDK is out (or soonish) let the hackers do what they do and get the cool stuff from them.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Meat Circus
      The Kinect camera itself wasn’t the innovation (more a combination of existing tech) but the Rare/Microsoft produced software for it was.

  14. Nostromo says:

    I hope it dies and that they forget about the whole idea, since they are never able to back it up enough to yield something worthwhile.

  15. thebigJ_A says:

    B doesn’t make any sense. XBL Arcade already does far more business than the PS store. (And “WiiWare” is a joke. Quite literally, it’s been used as a running joke. That’s How crap it was.)

    There’s some good stuff on there, actually. It’s a good place for indies. Case(s) in point, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Braid, and the upcoming (and awesome-sounding) Bastion.

    Seriously, if you own an Xboxtoy, check out Bastion when it comes out, if just for the dulcet tones of the narrator that reacts in real time to what you’re doing. Can’t wait.

    • The Hammer says:

      Yes, but on the PC side of things, it would be good for Microsoft if they could say, “Well, we get as many digitial distribution sales as Steam”. The Xbox console half will be carrying the flagging PC half.

    • Milky1985 says:

      WiiWare wasn’t that bad, not the best of the lot but not bad. The only people using it as a runnnig joke are the same peopel who also claim that wii is not part of the current generation of consoles because its not HD. Basically the poeple who hate on the wii jsut because its nintendo and reaching a new audienc…… oh wait its possible your one of them!

      (y0ou are using the wrong running joke btw, the running joke was the friend code stuf that was a bit silly as it was seperate codes per game. Fixed in teh 3ds with the single friend code per console)

    • psyk says:

      @ the hammer

      Steam fanboys will never change until the day they can’t access the account they own and the hundreds of pounds worth of games, which could happen due to any number of reasons. Digital distribution when locked to an account is so lame and should be swept under the carpet asap.

  16. Matt says:

    f) Money-saving maneuver made without regard for marketing confusion.

    Now they only have to staff and maintain a single website instead of two.

  17. Brutal Deluxe says:

    Surely this is all in anticipation of the PC2?

  18. Freud says:

    People use that online store? After the relaunch I checked it once a week and the prices were very high. Their idea of a sale was to have a puzzle game from 2009 up for $15. So I stopped visiting because what’s the point when D2D, Steam and Gamersgate are so much better in every single way.

    • Bhazor says:

      Episodes from Liberty City – £5
      Bully – £3
      Age of Empires 3 – £1ish

      Like Steam it depends when you look.

    • Jumwa says:

      One doesn’t need to look hard or often on Impulse, GamersGate or Steam to find amazing sales. In fact, I’m pretty sure all of them (except maybe Impulse) have routine, daily sales up at all times that are actually worth considering.

  19. Stevostin says:

    Or they simply want to merge maling lists because it suits them well for future plans. I bet someone came up with something like “83% of XBox users actually have a PC, even a small one” and he bumped in the guy coming with the “now we really want to support casual PC Market”. Considering GFWL’s user base probably ain’t half as big as GFXB, maybe this was their way to do their communication and marketing deeds PC related to a way larger audience.

  20. _PixelNinja says:

    Remember — Xbox Live will be fully integrated into Windows 8. I’m under the impression this is the first step to merge the two platforms.

    Some of you might say that would be stupid and confusing, to which I will answer: and GFWL (or ‘Gawful’ as I like to call it) wasn’t already? At least if no confusing it pretty much is stupid *cough*

    This just might be the beginning of what I feared. Let’s just hope Microsoft will not charge us for online play…

    EDIT: Markcocjin has already stated this further up.

  21. Metonymy says:

    For two of the games on that picture (FO3 and SF4) I simply purchased the game and then used a pirated copy. In both cases I got a lot of satisfaction from the game. I realize that this isn’t a working business model for them, but I’m starting to see evidence that the commercial people finally understand what they’re doing.

    Making piracy as challenging as possible, and then profiting from the initial rush, really works. Blizzard achieved this brilliantly with SC2. The crack was difficult enough that they got a couple of weeks of unanswered profit, and it’s still difficult enough to use that you must be familiar with computers to get it working. (and the crack instructions are even inaccurate, which is VERY interesting, and set off my tin-foil instinct)

    But the next step in the process has to be removing all the inconvenience for the end-user. Once the profit spike ends, a patch that removes most of the DRM, and any online requirement is respectful towards the paying customer.

    • Wilson says:

      @Metonymy – Yeah, I can very much get behind day/week one DRM, if they then remove it later. It seems to be a good compromise in my eyes. I can put up with a bit of irritating DRM for a little while (and that’s assuming I’m so desperate for the game that I have to pre-order it or buy it on day one), especially if I know it will go away in time.

  22. Agrona says:

    It certainly sounds like it’s someone’s brilliant branding decision. They’re trying to move XBox into an entertainment brand as it is. At least, that’s my interpretation of their E3 showing.

    I think in Microsoft’s ideal world, people equate “Xbox” with downloading and playing any sort of media content–be it on their Xboxes or their PCs (… or Macs?!)

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      No, no. Downloading and playing media content is “Zune”. “Xbox” is for games only.

      This is why they have Zune on Xbox, separate from Xbox Live on Xbox. They also have Zune on Windows Phone 7, and Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7. And they have Zune on Windows, so it’s only a natural step to bring Xbox Live to Windows.

      Microsoft’s idea of branding seems to be based around confusing consumers as much as possible. I can only imagine their next product will be Windows for Xbox, to complete the circle.

    • smoke.tetsu says:

      It wont come full circle until they rename GFW and GFWL to Xbox For WIndows and Xbox For WIndows Live. :P

  23. pyjamarama says:

    I say c). Especially for one game Age of Empires.
    The great majority of XBOX players are PC gamers deserters, it’s not a coincidence that Xbox success was built on titles from formally PC exclusive developers. Xbox owners will go to the site see the splash for Age of Empires and say I remember this game click and play for free.

    I think Microsoft gave up on trying to be a major PC games online retailer so they will focus on a smaller segment, only Live enable titles will get any kind of promotion on the Xbox site.

    For other games and small games Windows 8 will have a marketplace but I don’t think that will compete with the specialist games retailers and small casual games will dominate that market.

  24. Po0py says:

    Well, most people who have an 360 will have a pc as welll so to move gfwl over makes a weird kind of sense. There is already a whole bunch of gamers there so waving pc games under their noses can’t do much harm.

    But seriously. Fuck GFWL. They have had enough chances. I can’t understand why the gaming press keep sending attention their way. They tried to make it work for years and failed miserably. It’s time to just stop reporting about it and hope they give up.

    • Alexandros says:

      Indeed. Unless they plan on providing PC/Xbox compatibility, they will still lose spectacularly to Steam and other already established services.

  25. Sic says:

    YOU ARE THE REAL HORSES!

  26. roryok says:

    I think this is a sign that Microsoft are planning to release a gaming only PC with the Xbox branding.
    This will be a streamlined PC which runs a stripped down operating system, connects to a TV and uses wireless controllers instead of mouse / Keyboard.
    OH HANG ON

    Seriously though, they probably actually will. Prepare for Xbox branding on the PC, minus being able to play actual xbox360 games on it.

    • Alexandros says:

      If that is the case, I bet that the service will be really popular with PC gamers :)

  27. Handsome Dead says:

    what a rotten way for pc gaming to die

    • Fierce says:

      The day GFWL is taken to be equated with all of PC Gaming, is the day I stop being a gamer.

      I’d turn in my mouse and give my keyboard to a library and everything.

    • timmyvos says:

      What a shame.

    • subedii says:

      360 gaming would sooner die of sheer embarrassment at the association.

  28. Masked Dave says:

    It won’t, its just the store’s webpage moving, not affecting the actual service at all.

  29. jalf says:

    Back when I attempted to *buy* something from their newly launched marketplace, I was sent to xbox.com at least 3 times *anyway*. So maybe they’re just trying to cut out the middle man?

    Apart from anything else, we could look at it like this:

    the service can’t possibly get any worse. So either this move kills it or improves it. Both would be a step up from the current situation.

  30. Joe W-A says:

    This is unsurprising to me. It’s the same thing they’ve done with Windows Phone 7 – the games hub on there is called Xbox Live, you go and buy Xbox Live branded games for your phone. Now they’re doing it for PC, and, presumably, merging the three into one store. Basically, Xbox is the “games for microsoft systems” brand now, rather than the name of a console.

    • Rob Maguire says:

      Fun fact: Microsoft created XNA, a (quite brilliant) game development framework. It supports PC, Xbox 360, and since version 4.0, Windows Phone 7.

      Since 4.0 was released, the only way to obtain XNA Game Studio has been to download a package called Windows Phone Developer Tools, which is loaded with bloated crap that’s only useful when you’re developing for Windows Phone 7. The site gives no indication that XNA is even a part of this download, and almost completely ignores both primary development targets to focus on the new Phone elements (link, mentions of Windows Phone: 21; Xbox: 3; PC: none).

      What I’m saying is, Microsoft renaming/bundling together core parts of their portfolio to attract attention to something they desperately want to succeed? Nothing new, but always extremely irritating.

  31. Masked Dave says:

    Alternatively they could be going in a “buy it for one platform then you’ve bought it for all!” approach a la Valve and Portal 2 on the PS3.

    Which would be awesome.

  32. Teddy Leach says:

    I don’t know what’s happening any more. I just don’t know.

  33. Premium User Badge

    soulblur says:

    Perhaps they’re unifying the gaming brand? Uhh, what Joe W-A says.

    Is that less confusing? No, probably not. But the Xbox brand has such high visibility that it might be worth it to associate games that you can’t even play on an Xbox (particularly as, as some people are saying, Windows 8 launches an app store with games – that are Xbox branded, but play on PC or phones). Does not Playstation do this – you can buy Playstation 2 games there, and also PSP games? They do, it appears. So perhaps not even a unique decision.

    I wish though that they would get more PC games Xbox labelled, so that achievements (and save-games?) could be shared cross-platform. There aren’t that many games where that’s the case, as far as I can tell. I’ve only come across Fallout 3, where the PC achievements show up on my Xbox account. I would buy more PC games if this was the case, honestly.

  34. fitzroy_doll says:

    The only thing I ever used Gawful for was to buy Minerva’s Den for Bioshock 2 (which was very good and well worth buying if you are a Bioshock fan).

    When making the purchase, the I used the GFWL site to download the required client, as the one that is included in the game does not work no matter how many time it updates. I then signed in and bought the dlc pack using the client alone. From then on, the only thing I ever saw of Gawful was a long pause at game launch.

    In short, it makes no difference where they put the site or how they brand it. As long as you only use the client to buy items (not the website), there is no way to accidentally buy the wrong format.

  35. vodka and cookies says:

    I see RPS missed the memo that Xbox Live is being integrated into Windows 8.

    MS is repositioning Xbox Live as a brand that means it’s content delivery platform for games, Windows Phone 7 already uses “Xbox Live” and Nokia were touting Xbox Live when they signed their deal with MS which is popular with the mainstream folk.

    Windows 8 will have an app store and you can be sure Xbox Live will be the games section of that app store. I imagine the store listings will be filtered with whatever platform your own, MS long term goal is one OS to rule them all with PC, laptops, tablets, smartphones all running Windows.

    Win8 is the first step on that path with its touch UI and Arm support so merging GFWL into Xbox Live is to simplify things for mainstream consumers as lets face it self labeling PC gamers hate GFWL. If you looked at this announcement on awesometechnologyblogs there were all happy about it so this is who they are aiming at & the tablet generation of course too.

  36. Tei says:

    This could be a good thing.

    So now wen you buy a game, you are not redirected to XBox Live to sign a eula with XBox Live, because you will already be in XBox Live buying a Windows Game.

    I say, go on Microsoft!, I dont think you guys are going to do even only one thing right, but prove me wrong. And good luck!

  37. deadstoned says:

    I hope its option a, the internet will not mourn the loss of GFWL. Only some Xbox peeps would be upset at potentially losing some gamerscore.

  38. faelnor says:

    Going against the current, I’d say that’s Microsoft way to recognise that PC gaming is important and can’t be eliminated.

    Not PC gamers, however.

    What I’m saying is that Microsoft acknowledges that a significant portion of people who own an Xbox will also have a PC – especially for casual, F2PFPSs and MMO gaming which can’t be so easily ported onto Xbox (mostly due to the ever-growing mobility and social aspects of PC platforms). Realising that porting everything onto a single platform is not desirable at the moment, what MS wants is consequently to accompany the players when they switch from console to PC with an unified marketplace. It makes sense, along with the integration of Xbox Live into Windows.

    What I’m not saying is that Microsoft cares about “PC gamers” who do not own a console or at least mostly play on their PC, be it either multiplatform games or PC-centric titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Those gamers are bound to be forever a niche and MS will be pretty glad to leave eastern european and independent studios drive innovation on the PC from now on. At best, we are an interesting target for the nostalgia factor (GOG and re-releases) and that’s all.

    Really, from a market-oriented view it makes sense. Of course that’s short-sighted but what isn’t today?

  39. bonjovi says:

    all gaming industry is now under a ‘social craze’ every single big boy out there says the social networking is the future of the internets. What’s MS biggest social network, that has not yet been demonised? XBL. so the move is expected. They might even release Xbox OS on PC, or call Win8 – Windows 8 Xbox.

  40. Atic Atac says:

    They don’t even stock proper old microsoft games like Rise of Nations, Age of Empires II and Crimson Skies. I don’t see the point. They don’t compete price-wise, they have a lousy website and no one cares for GFWL.

  41. kwyjibo says:

    This isn’t remotely odd or baffling or bizarre.

    Gfw has always been a fucking failure, offending the userbase is meaningless, because the userbase never gave a shit about the platform. The gfw team were incompetent and everyone knows it.

    On the other hand, the xbox team had gone from strength to strength. The xbox brand is growing ever stronger and is going to feature strongly in windows phone 7, which will pick up traction with the nokia launch. The xbox is no longer the box by your tv, its a service, this should be blindingly obvious by now.

    That gfw will join the fold is good news.

    • deadstoned says:

      Problem m8, the GFW team is the Xbox Team. To get your game certified and installed with GFWL you go entirely through the Xbox team. They’re just putting it in writing now and seeing how the Xbox team has never understood the PC things will still be shit.

  42. wisnoskij says:

    The thing I find most strange is that now people are going to have to go to Xbox.com to buy a PC game? I don’t know about you but if I got a link to Xbox.com to go and buy a game i was looking for for PC then I would think that the xbox version of the game must be through that link and that it would not be worth checking out.

  43. DeanLearner says:

    Xbox = Xbox Live
    Phone = Xbox Live (i think?)
    It makes sense to make PC xbox live too, right?

  44. roryok says:

    Actually, while trying to log into GFWL (or Gagging on Floor With Laughter) I got redirected to xbox.com more than once. Actually ended up in an endless redirect loop one of the times, but I’m not counting that.

    This has been on the cards for a long time. I really do think that MS are eyeing up services like OnLive, and thinking about a future where ‘xbox’ games are cloud hosted and played on MS sanctioned devices like Windows PCs, Phones, Zunes / Xbox handhelds and thin client Xbox consoles which would essentially be little more than internet enabled kinect sensors with HDMI

  45. Zogtee says:

    Yesterday I contemplated buying Fable 3 and the DLC when it was on sale on Steam, but I never did. Why? Because of this encouraging little blurb of text:

    “To activate the downloadable content after your purchase, launch Fable III and copy the Product Code from the Steam overlay into your clipboard. Once the game launches and the Gamertag sign-in process completes, press the Home key to bring up the Games for Windows Live overlay. Click Gamertag, select Redeem Code, and paste in the Product Code to initiate the download process.”

    I literally said “No, fuck you! I cannot be arsed!” at the screen. An overreaction, maybe, but it is what happened. GFWL should be dragged out back, shot in the face, and stuffed in the bin.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      …only it doesn’t “activate the download process” at all. It just ties the DLC to your account and then you have to nip off to the GFWL client to actually download it because the ingame one won’t work for a reason known only to Microsoft. Perhaps. Maybe even they don’t reall know.

  46. squirrel says:

    “Yes, having to go to a different website when I wanted to buy a game for a different format was horribly inconvenient and unconcentrated. Thank goodness they’ve cleared that one up. Having one less site on the internet is going to make matters so much clearer.”

    So MS wants some PC gamers to mistakenly buy some Xbox games without owning Xbox in prior, end up having to buy Xbox so that those wrong buyings are not wasted?

  47. InternetBatman says:

    I really believe that this is a small sign of a very smart move that MS has been making. They see that the need for a bunch of different devices running a bunch of different OS that hardly talk to each other is ending. They want to turn windows into the default OS for everything that’s in the home and integrate it all together. Personally I think it will go a step further and everything will become a thin client of one household computer that is set up for quick and easy telnets from mobile devices. Sony and Apple are trying it too, and they have their own OS. The company that makes it fall into place will make a ton of money.

    Even if I’m completely wrong about that, it still make sense for them to try to make Xbox Marketplace more portable to computers. They already have some integration tools built into XNA (don’t know how well it works), and it has to drive them crazy to see small hits like Toki Tori and Magicka using steam when they were developed in XNA.

  48. Hazzard65 says:

    It’s in preparation for competition with Steam. EA are doing it with Origin and Microsoft are doing this nonsense.

    Either way it means bullshit for the consumer.

    • Kaira- says:

      How so? I see that this will bring new movement to the market and will hopefully lower the prices in DD market. Then again, it might turn that you need three different clients on your PC to play all your games, when even Steam is way too much.

  49. eclipse mattaru says:

    f) MS finally acknowledging they have way too good a business with the Xbox and it doesn’t pay to bother trying to seriously compete with Steam.

    If you go to the GFWL forums you’ll see a number of people making a huge deal about being able to share their Xbox gamescore with their GFWL account (or something along those lines). I guess that’s the share of PC market MS cares about keeping happy, and this kind of thing makes them happy.

    On other news, funny GFWL Marketplace story: The official site won’t accept my credit card, so I have to go to the Xbox site, buy MS Points (using PayPal, which GFWLMP won’t accept), and then go back to GFWLMKTPLCXCVPPP to make my purchase. Streamlining at its best.

  50. Grayvern says:

    The people talking about emulation at the start of the thread are insane, emulation is hard and requires massively more powerful hardware to execute and never works for every game.

    It would make more sense for microsoft to simply pay existing developers to port games over after a 1 to 3 month gap to fill out their PC portfolio, not that this is in any way likely either.

    It’s simply a marketing move. Considering that marketing is a huge outlay this lets them add a for pc too line somewhere in an advert and basically let them advertise the side of the business they don’t want to spend money on without spending money on it.