Contradictory Headlines, Pt 1: GFW Marketplace Closing

By Nathan Grayson on August 16th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Good riddance, sweet prince

Games For Windows Live – Microsoft’s heinous piece of burdenware that dragged down even the best of games – hasn’t been much of A Thing for a while, but some vestiges remain. Like the human appendix and pretty much every part of a platypus, however, they don’t really serve a purpose anymore. So the Games For Windows marketplace, which you may remember from such hits as that time they halfheartedly turned it into a Steam clone and that other time it got vomited back into existence by an Xbox? Come next week, it’s history.

Fittingly, given Microsoft’s apparent commitment to the service, the marketplace’s death knell came with neither a bang nor a whimper. I’m not even sure if dogs could hear it.

“As part of the upcoming Xbox 360 system update, Microsoft Points will be retired, and the Xbox.com PC marketplace will be closed as of August 22, 2013. We encourage you to spend your Microsoft Points balance prior to this change. Although you will not be able to purchase new games, you can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows LIVE client software as usual.”

So GFWL will continue to exist, which is a bummer – but also a fairly inconsequential one these days. That said, there have been rumblings that a couple of its best-loved victims, BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den and Batman: Arkham City, are about to remove their GFWL requirements. So everybody wins.

Well, except those of you with unspent Microsoft Points. But hey, you can still use them on, um, full-price versions of games you already own. Or, er, the largely defunct Age of Empires Online. See? Options. Glass half-full! Positivity!

OK yeah, Microsoft really doesn’t give a shit about PC at all anymore, does it? But wait, I have heard a resounding blast from RPS’ patented News Horn that suggests the exact opposite. How strange. More very, very soon.

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72 Comments »

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  1. onsamyj says:

    *cough* Windows Store *cough*

    • Vagrant says:

      This, probably. It’ll never work out unless they revamp their storefront though, since it’s just a big jumbled list of games with the most basic of filters. Games will require it’s own style of shopping experience.

    • Sic says:

      Which is WinRT only and a complete and utter crock of shit.

      Steam on Linux can’t get here fast enough.

      MS seems to be determined to self-destruct their entire desktop platform (which quite frankly is an incredible ordeal), and people are standing around, not really paying attention.

      I simply can’t fathom how people in control at MS can be this stupid. It’s mind-boggling.

      • Werthead says:

        I’m currently running with the theory that Microsoft’s board has been replaced by replicants sent by Apple to destroy the company.

        So far, they are succeeding beyond their most optimistic projections.

        • realitysconcierge says:

          Man that’s so hilarious, but I really can’t poke any holes in your theory.

      • onsamyj says:

        Which is WinRT only

        No it’s not.

        All this “M$ is awful company, Windows suck” rage is since 1995, and guess what, they still here, they still dominate PC market.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          ‘Dominate’ is the wrong word, it infers that they are doing something better than their competition to stay ahead of the game.

          More correctly, they MONOPOLIZE the PC market, and not through their planning.. it’s all kinda fluke default stuff because of DX from way back when…. that should die, then we’d all be a lot happier.

  2. aepervius says:

    Maybe I will finally be able to get bioshock 2 to run on my win 7 PC ? One can dream.

    • nimzy says:

      This. I still remember when Marketplace was the only way you could get Bioshock 2’s DLC.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Not two months ago, I spent an agonizing afternoon getting BioShock 2 and Minerva’s Den to run on Windows8 64-bit. It can be done, but it’s an enormous pain in the arse. This is going to make it so easy it’s not even fair.

      • Premium User Badge

        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I didn’t even get far enough to run into the Win7 x64 incompatibilities. I have Bioshock 2 on disc, and my only DVD drive is on my Mac. No problem, I thought, I’ll just rip it, and mount it in Daemon Tools on the PC to install and play it.

        It turns out that whatever SecuROM does to the DVD is not well liked by the firmware of Mac DVD drives. The disc goes in, spins up… louder than usual. And then the drive starts making grinding noises. And these go on, … and on, with no sign of stopping. I hit eject, and nothing happens. I hold it down, and about 15 seconds later it finally spins down and ejects the disc. So no Minerva’s Den for me.

        But it’s good to know that I’d have had a whale of a time getting the game to run, even before any GFWL fun.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Zephro says:

    I ended up buying a second copy of Arkham City in a steam sale to get the DLC and just to be rid of Games For Windows.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Fairly sure you have to log into GFWL to play them through steam as well.

      • onsamyj says:

        Yes.

        • Premium User Badge

          Zephro says:

          No. As I had to go through a massive faff to remove the DRM protection on the old save games to get the Steam GOTY one to actually work.

          I may have just told GFWL to be in offline mode but I was picking up steam achievements and all the saves were local and no Games for Windows encrypted anymore.

          Also to be clear. The GOTY edition was cheaper than buying the DLC on Games for Windows Marketplace. I’m not that diehard.

          • onsamyj says:

            Offline mode, yes, but it’s still there. So, maybe not definite “yes/no”, but “kinda”.

    • Squirly says:

      I thought about doing the same thing with Dark Souls when it was up on the Summer Steam Sale. Then I found out it still used GFWL on top of Steam. Fuck THAT.

      • Richeh says:

        Eh, it’s not actually that bad on Dark Souls. You can play it offline without signing in to GFWL, which just means no invasions / co-op and no messages. I’ve heard that the co-op’s great, but in retrospect, probably not worth having my savegames held hostage by GFWL.

        • mwoody says:

          While I couldn’t care less about the co-op or invasions – I almost never played my character alive – playing Dark/Demon’s Souls without the brilliant stroke of asynchronous multiplayer that is the message system would be a damn shame.

        • Skull says:

          Yes but quick warning! If you play in offline mode, then decide to play some PvP or co-op with your character, you won’t be able to. Signing into GfWL “resets” the game and it wont recognise your offline saves so you will have to make a new character for multiplayer goodness.

  4. Phantom_Renegade says:

    So do we lose any MS points still on the balance? That shouldn’t be the case right, since it’s the same pool of points you use with Xlive purchases?

    • onsamyj says:

      MS points going away. All of them. Everywere.

      • Phantom_Renegade says:

        That I got, but the ‘spend it now!’ had an implication that GFWL people would lose the money all together. But idc as long as I keep the currency, I’ll spend it on stuff for my xbox, which is where it usually goes anyway, rb3 songs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      MS points are being replaced by “local currency” for purchases. If you have a points balance on your account it will be converted into a credit balance after the change. Of course, this doesn’t help much unless you also have an Xbox to spend that balance on.

      • deadly.by.design says:

        Good to know. I won’t rush to spend my remaining 800 pts I have on there.

        My wife had a 360 before we got married, so now we have one. We tried one year of XBL Gold when we found it for cheap, but I’ve discontinued it after that term. There’s nothing I want to play online and paying just to stream Netflix is ridiculous.

        /feels guilty enough to explain why he owns an xbox

  5. gunny1993 says:

    I feel a great disturbance in the force, as if …. oh no …. sat on a burrito

    Carry on

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    I am so looking forward to replaying Bioshock 2, and experiencing Minerva’s Den for the first time. I had a flareup of “angry fanboy” syndrome when B2 came. “New team, story rehash, lame!” The RPS articles at the time convinced me to give it a try and judge it by its own merits, and I’m very happy that they did. Very underrated game.

  7. Jamesworkshop says:

    Interesting

    I have bac goty steam

    and bioshock 2 plus minervas den from gfwl marketplace

    GFWL must love me because i’ve yet to lose saves to it or not have a game load(even have resident evil 5 on steam too)

    funny that gfwl dies on my birthday :)

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      GFWL is still around. They’re axing the Games for Windows Marketplace, which was MS’s version of Steam’s store.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I’m one of those people that never got the GFWL hate, it at the very least seemed to link in well, patching a bit of a pain but better than it used to be a few years before GFWL was introduced (anyone else remember rte “fun” of patching battlefield 2?), yeah not as good as steam but OK.

      I guess I was lucky, never had issues with the saves or anything, in fact only mate that did have issues was one who set the country to us not uk somehow.

      Getting rid of the store is actually good imo, there prices were crap, hopefully they can do something properly, by that i don’t mean the windows 8 store..

      • MadTinkerer says:

        When I first used GFWL is was a buggy piece of crap that I hated. Later, they fixed the bugs, but it was still a mild annoyance to have a separate login from Steam for some games. Then they merged GFWL with Hotmail/Outlook.com so it automagically logged in and was actually no longer inconvenient!

        It’s kind of sad that they actually smacked it into a state where I was satisfied and I was considering buying a few things right when they shut it down. On the positive side, Minerva’s Den is finally coming to Steam.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    I think you are being very unfair in your assessment there Mr Grayson, a platypus serves a purpose in its local ecology and is a great pillar of the surrounding society.

  9. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Part 2. Now! Please.

    Come on, it’s Friday. It’s not like any of us are doing any *actual* work :P

  10. pupsikaso says:

    Does this have anything to do with Steam’s product manager or whatever leaving Valve to work for Microsoft?

    • RCoon says:

      Yes it does, he’s there to make M$ DRM for the Windows 8 Store to integrate games into it.

      • Teovald says:

        I so don’t want to see this happening. I can deal with steam being the biggest digital platform for gaming, even though it is far from being perfect.
        Something like a preinstalled Windows Store with the obligation to delve deep into the settings to allow ”’unsafe installs”’ could be disastrous for the gaming industry.

        • Phantom_Renegade says:

          Unsafe installs being every game that didn’t pay the MS certification fee? At least, that’s what they’ll want to try.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah, according to Tech Report, he’s there “focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment.”

      And his first step, it seems, has been to kill GFWL. Which is great! :D

      p.s. “interactive” in Microsoft’s language is usually either Kinect or touching tiles so I’m skeptical.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        GFWL is still there. The Games for Windows Marketplace is being killed.

  11. MuscleHorse says:

    So what about those of us who don’t yet own Minerva’s Den? Should we buy it now before we’re forced onto the high-seas of piracy?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Locked achivements referring to it have appeared on Steam, so it will likely be released there and elsewhere soon.

  12. somnolentsurfer says:

    Guessing this just means they’re stripping the Xbox branding out of their PC stuff and focusing on GodAWFul.

  13. Comrade Roe says:

    I hope this means GTA IV will drop it. Yay, having 3 pieces of DRM at once.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Malibu Stacey says:

    If Bioshock 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City get GFWL removed I may actually purchase them now.

    • Keyrock says:

      Same. GFWL is one of the reasons I never bought Dark Souls, shitty PC port being the other reason.

      • Premium User Badge

        strangeloup says:

        Even with tweaks, the PC version of Dark Souls is made into a spectacular bag of fuck by all the cheating/hacking that goes on, which GfWL does approximately jack shit to prevent.

        I’m not sure I want to buy a third copy of it just so I can finish it though. (Originally had it on 360, then got it on PC, I don’t have a 360 anymore — because Microsoft — so I’d be getting the PS3 Prepare to Die edition.)

  15. rocketman71 says:

    Here’s hoping they remove that huge piece of shit from Iron Brigade. It completely breaks the multiplayer.

    Also, the GFWL guys could join the IE guys and GO FUCK THEMSELVES. That would be swell.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Double Fine tend to be pretty good with supporting their older titles (e.g Psychonauts’ recent Mac & Linux debut, Brutal Legend’s recent PC debut etc.) so it’s eminently possible they’ll remove GFWL from Iron Brigade.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        ‘Eminently possible’.. my arse.

        There is no way in god’s green earth that the contract DF signed with MS would IN ANY WAY allow them to even TOUCH the DRM MS has forced into the products.

        GFWL being stripped from ANY game WILL NOT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER HAPPEN.. MS WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

  16. Tams80 says:

    The only game I bought on GFWL is Age of Empires III – Complete Collection when it was 79p. That was definitely worth it, though only just made up for the fact my disc version bought at launch would not install.

    Mr. Grayson, you have added to your sins. The platypi (excuse my pseudo Latin/Latinglish) will soon get you.

  17. stupid_mcgee says:

    I can’t imagine it will be too long before GFWL also bites the dust.

    So far this year, there have been 2 games released with GFWL. Meanwhile, 39 games have been released that require Steam. Even in 2009, which was GFWL’s biggest year, there were only 16 titles released. In 2009, there were 11 Steam-required titles.

    Obviously, there’s still time for another GFWL title or two to come out this year, but there’s not going to be many. R* has pretty much dropped GFWL for their own Rockstar Social. Capcom had dropped GFWL and seems to be moving towards Steamworks. THQ dropped GFWL before they fell on their sword. WB and 2K seem to be actively trying to erase their history with GFWL, like cutting out that face from all those pictures of a relationship gone terribly wrong. Even Namco-Bandai, who seems to be the only non-MS studio using GFWL, has said they’re looking into Steamworks rather than GFWL for Dark Souls 2.

    Remember when MS tried to charge players to play GFWL games online, by making them subscribe to GFWL Gold? HAHAHAHAHA! Good times… good times.

    • HadToLogin says:

      I think that last line, along with X360 enormous success which made MS forget they can get money from PC if they want (just make better DRM than Valve, that’s all they had to do THEN to become PC overlord), are the reasons why GfWL is dead.

  18. DanMan says:

    It’s bound to return somehow. This is going places, i tell ya. Why else would they have hired that bloke from Valve recently?

  19. Nicodemus Rexx says:

    so does this mean the copy of Fable III I bought at retail and the DLC I got for it is screwed?

    • Phantom_Renegade says:

      Nope, it’s fine, says so in the article:
      “you can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows LIVE client software as usual.”

  20. Rollin says:

    Yay. Now we just need Origin to die.

  21. Danda says:

    AMAZING NEWS.

    I’ll be able to play Bioshock 2 and the Batman games on PC at last. Now, could all other publishers do the same? I want to play the non-crippled versions of Dead Rising 2 and Dark Souls.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Ummmm… they aren’t doing away with GFWL (that would just kill your games).. they are only “getting rid of” (read: rebranding) the marketplace.

  22. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    There’s no great gain without some small loss. This means I’ll have to retire my GFWL username “GFWLSUCKSARSE”.

    I have no idea why it was never auto-banned.

  23. RProxyOnly says:

    So they’re not getting rid off it, they’re just going to rebrand it?

  24. Chizu says:

    So uh, what happens to dlc you HAVEN’T purchased?
    What if I wanted to aquire some dlc for a GFWL title after the store explodes out of existence?

    There’s a couple of games I never got DLC for that I was contemplating perhaps at least one or two pieces. (like DiRT3)
    Is that gonna be unavailable, or will it still be purchasable somehow?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I was kind of wondering the same thing. It would be nice if Codemasters would strip GFWL from their games and just offer the DLC on Steam.

  25. GallonOfAlan says:

    Yeah huh Win 8 sux Win RT sux all the big boys said so on the internet haha M$ sux see what I did with the dollar sign?

    I’m 13.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      “I’m 13.”

      I for one, have no problem believing this.

  26. Tuco says:

    Good fucking riddance, GFWL. You won’t be missed.