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 »

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  1. wazups2x says:

    Just die already! Microsoft is the last company I would want to have in charge of PC gaming. Microsoft’s vision of PC gaming is a terrible thing.

  2. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    Microsoft, I have figured out the solution to your GFWL problem!

    Write a check to Valve. Ask them how many zeros they want on it. Give them complete and utter control of the GFWL brand, and agree to be completely and utterly hands-off.

    Wait.

    In a week, Steam users will open up their Steam account to find that the name of the service has been changed to Games For Windows Live, that Steam Achievements can be viewed on XBL, that XBL Indie Games are now on the service, and that literally nothing else about the service is different at all from the Steam people have come to know and love. Meanwhile, you can continue to pursue your current strategy of giving exactly 0.0% of a shit about PC games, and make money doing it!

    Everyone wins!

    (I’d also tell them to let Valve start running XBL, but, you know, let’s be somewhat realistic.)

  3. louder says:

    I am going to be honest and say I am not heart broken. There just doesn’t seem to be that much support for it. There are loads of cross platform titles that just don’t have GFWL and it irritates me. I play console games, so do my friends. I want to be able to chat with them while they are playing yet I can’t and that really annoys me.

    I have never bought anything off GFWL and I don’t think I ever will, but the social and score keeping side is what is important to me.

  4. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    I just went over to the XBox/whatever forums to make a complaint. Good good; they can’t even do a forum properly. And this is after a redesign about which they’re very self-congratulatory. Took me about 5 minutes to find the actual forum I needed. I mean, there’s open-source forum software you can use, guys; why spend ages reinventing the wheel, then proudly display a square one?

    P.