Unangst on Games for Windows’ Year One.

Unangst! Unangst! Unangst!

Following on from Alec’s franternizing with revolutionary elements this week, an interview on Games For Windows – including Games For Windows Live – one year on caught my eye. Behatted Journalistic Dynamo Ellie Gibson talks to Kevin Unangst about how those twelve months have gone, and what they should be doing next…

“One, we need to make it clearer you don’t have to pay to play… Two, I do think we need to add more value, and communicate to users the other things we could do on the PC to get them excited and make them think paying might be worth it.”

More here. To be honest, I’m going to quote almost anything Kevin Unangst says, because he’s got an incredible name.


  1. The_B says:

    His name is so awesome, he should totally start a buisness in anti emoblogs or something.

    Of course, quoting him in titles may lead to people believing the posts are personal emo messages, rather ironically: “UNANGST: The PC isn’t dying”

  2. Roman Levin says:

    “There are 60 million DirectX 10-capable cards out on the market now”.
    That’s just so utterly useless. How many of those are running Vista, and how many of those are actually capable of running a DX10 game at a playable framerate?

  3. restricted3 says:

    His f***ing Games for Windows Live is one of the things hurting the PC. Drop it already!

    See “hurting” and not “killing”. PC is not dying.

  4. Optimaximal says:

    I wonder if the guy believes the drivel he’s spouting. Ahh wait, he’s in ‘management’ isn’t he…

    Seriously, my brain hurt reading that interview that didn’t answer a single question or present any convincing arguement that Microsoft aren’t out to just groom developers into making games for their console.

    In all fairness, GfW has done its job at producing a clear image/brand that stands out on the retail shelf, but as proven by every-single-statistic-that-doesn’t-come-from-NPD, retail selling for the PC is dead. Coupled with the whole Live hoo-hah… It’s just awful!

  5. Alex says:

    At first I thought “unangst” was some kind of neologism and I was thinking it would’ve probably benefited from a nice bit of the ol’ hyphenation – “un-angst”..

    The truth is much, much weirder.

    Back to the actual content of the interview – I find it incredibly disheartening to see the focus yet again going to the business of “monetization” – “..to get them excited and make them think paying might be worth it”.

    I mean, I’m not saying the gaming business isn’t about lots and lots of money, but it’d be nice if companies such as Microsoft would just say something revolutionary like “let’s make really good games that are worth people’s money” and not even think about trying to make the dollars through what, in the end, is just a periferal service.

  6. martin says:

    GfW is just stupid, marketing blabla and it takes away valuable box art space. The best thing is that i play sins of a solar empire (a GfW game) on my debian box using wine.

    i wish all devs would just drop dx and use ogl and let me, the paying customer, choose the os i want to use.

    thank god wine exists, so i can play most of my games on my debian box. would be great if the wine team would join the pcga but 15000 membership fee, wooha

  7. pijama says:

    If GfW gets along with PCGA… Oh god.

  8. Incognito_GBG says:

    RPS should do an interview with someone from Microsoft about Live for Windows vs Steam.

    *How do Microsoft think they can succéed with Live when Steam has more than 15 million accounts and is frontrunner when it comes to digital distribution?
    *Have they discussed a Steam/Live-integration?
    *Why isn´t Valve a member of the PC Gaming Alliance when they for so many people ARE the PC Gaming Alliance?

    Questions like thoose need answers.

  9. Optimaximal says:

    *Why isn´t Valve a member of the PC Gaming Alliance when they for so many people ARE the PC Gaming Alliance?

    I think you just answered your own question. They’re doing too many good things for PC gaming for them to be held back by the red-tape committee.

    Plus, Gabe frequently locks horns with Microsoft behind the scenes.

  10. hoohoo says:

    surprised you guys havent posted about doug lombardi’s gamasutra interview.

    link to gamasutra.com

    seemed a perfect interview to ask why valve are not in the pc gaming axis of evil. he does make the usual points about the lack of reporting on dd & wow subs & PEGGLE!, and the industry relying on faulty npd for the state of pc gaming.

  11. Robin says:

    “Kevin Unangst: One, we need to make it clearer you don’t have to pay to play… Two, I do think we need to add more value, and communicate to users the other things we could do on the PC to get them excited and make them think paying might be worth it.”

    In other words it’s free for now. It pisses me off when execs who should be asking what they can do to empower developers and improve the quality and variety of games on a platform are instead preoccupied with finding lazy and cynical ways to chisel more money out of people.

  12. RichPowers says:

    GFWL has a one insurmountable problem: it was created by inept Microsoft execs/marketingdroids. Therefore, PC gamers will never trust the system because it was never designed with their needs in mind. It was designed to lock people into the Windows Universe.

    MS also has a bad habit of confusing consumers with excessive product editions. Vista has something like six versions. GFWL has two versions: silver and gold. Steam only has one version: awesome. (Don’t roll your eyes at me!)

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if MS leverages its Windows dominance to force people into GFWL somehow. Just like it did with DX10.

    Like I’ve been saying, having MS as a member of The Alliance (Arrested Development reference anyone?) is a joke, considering how the company has gone out of its way to tarnish PC gaming. It’d be like me burning down a building, showing up in fireman’s garb 5 minutes later, and proudly proclaiming how I am in fact saving the day.

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    HooHoo: I was going to blog that a bit later actually.


  14. Cruz says:

    I wish someone would ask him about Universe at War availing ingame rewards to Gold members, or the lack of the dedicated servers that PC gamers know and love, or just the limited choices of game types (no ranked games in Kane and Lynch or Gears of War for Silver members. Paint that in a way that helps PC gaming.

  15. Alex says:

    Didn’t it make you think paying for Windows Live might be worth it?

  16. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:


    This brings to mind a damned good whimsical thought for the day.

    “PC Gaming Alliance announced: Valve restructures itself as new Justice League.”

  17. Fazer says:

    “It goes back to things we’ve learned. Going out of the gate, we weren’t as clear as we should have been that Games for Windows Live on the PC is free. You don’t have to pay for Gold. (…) Anybody can get a free Silver account on the PC, and if I want to play all my friends on Gears of War on the PC it won’t cost me anything. Our challenge is to be clear on the message we’re not charging for Games for Windows Live.”

    At first I understood that I don’t need to pay for Gold = the Gold subscription is free. Then I realised it should be like this: I don’t have to pay for Gold = unless I want to play online. Which sucks big time.

  18. Tak says:

    Part of the problem I see is they haven’t really ‘created’ anything for the PC. They just took XBL and ported it to Windows (poorly, at that). If you want people to use GFWL:

    – Drop the Gold-only benefits to a smaller level. Make cross-platform play be a Gold benefit, or something. Multiplayer games types (ranked or otherwise) shouldn’t be charged for, at all. That’s standard fare on the PC, and if you want to charge for we’ll stick to things that don’t.

    – USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE ON THE SYSTEM. Tie in to MSN messenger instead of the clunky GFWL list. Something like Valves overlay is a great model. MS only ever seems to copy what is most popular at the time anyway, so it’s not like you’d be setting some horrible precedent.

    – Integrate the system into the game menus more. ‘Home’ to open GFWL menu is annoying. If the game ships GFWL-enabled (not GFW branded) it’s a given that it’s going to be the multitplayer hook-up, so just tidy it into the menu options.

    – DO NOT tie every part of the single player experience to a networked account. Don’t require someone to log in to save if the just want to hop on to mess around in single player. Doing so makes your product inconvenient, and it will lose out when deciding what to waste ten minutes on because of that.

    I’m sure anyone who has actually spent more than two minutes gaming on the PC can think of more, and better, ideas of how GFWL could not be such a fluster-cluck.

  19. pijama says:

    Easier said than done, mate. It’s the old problem all over again – the great majority of the suits aren’t gamers and thus don’t understand why we are so pissed off at this outrageous BS.