Stardock’s Wardell Slams GFWL

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!


  1. itsallcrap says:


    I’d like to comment on this, but you’ve clearly all sworn so much that our proxy server refuses to load the page.

    I’ve only managed to get to the comments box by making up my own URL for the non-existent comments page 4:

    link to

  2. KindredPhantom says:

    One of things that annoy me about GFWL is it”s payment system, it doesn’t support Paypal or Switch cards. What is the reason for this? Not everyone has a credit card nor wants one and such is forced to buy the points separately.
    Steamworks is a better alternative to this for developers in my opinion, at least steam works..well most of the time.

  3. Harper says:

    I don’t care about matchmaking. I want to use my own custom banners/badges in DOW 2. GFWL won’t let you because MS hates user created content. They claim it is because they want to keep the children from seeing obscene stuff, but anyone with a brain knows it just so that they can charge you for that “premium” DLC down the road.

    Keep that console bullshit off my computer thanks.


    • Alastayr says:

      By not allowing user created content they open up another revenue stream AND save money by not needing a regulatory body that handles eventual user complaints over dicks for Avatars.

      I wanted to link to a piece by Gabe from PA where he was insulted by some kid after playing Halo 3 but I just spent 20 minutes on google and I couldn’t find it. It was the perfect example of why Microsoft’s LIVE service is pants.

  4. Meesh says:

    This perfectly captures GFWL.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      I think there’s a missink link in your post. Unless by this you actually mean an italicized word “this”, which I guess would be too clever for me to understand =/

  5. Geoff says:

    Wait! Hold! Stop!

    Yes, GFW Live is actually as terrible as everyone here is saying it is, but did anyone actually read the article? Actually read what Wardell says about it?

    “I wish Microsoft would do a lot more in making the PC better as a gaming platform. For example, the Demigod fiasco with the multiplayer should never have happened. Developers on the PC should not have to license a third-party NAT facilitator. If I was making a game for the Xbox, I get that for free. But on the PC, some of us have to become network experts. I didn’t sign on to become some sort of IT network guy. And I would love if Microsoft would make these servers available–and they do under Games for Windows Live–without having all these strings attached.”

    He is NOT saying “GFWL sucks”, he’s saying “I wish they made it easier for me to put all my games on GFWL for free without working so hard at it.”

    Seriously, he’s saying the opposite of what all you guys are saying! Go read it!
    His points aren’t even that great – he complains that devs get free networking service on Xbox but not PC, which is technically true, but that’s because:
    1. The gamers have to pay for that service, instead of the devs.
    2. The devs have to go through the rigorous certification just to make the Xbox game at all, and since that certification is what he’s complaining about, he’s not going to get away from it with Xbox Live.

    I absolutely agree that GFW Live (not the same as GFW!) is terrible, but what we actually have here is a publisher who neglected their networking code in a multiplayer-focused game, resulting in a botched launch and angry customers, then complained that Microsoft should have given him GFW Live for free with no strings attached, so he could have used that instead.

  6. Hypocee says:

    True enough. Of course, he’s basically comparing it to the DirectX model.

  7. Malibu Stacey says:

    Hmm… Games I’m interested in buying.
    Dawn of War II (throughly enjoyed Dawn of War Anthology on PC)
    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Grand Theft Auto 4
    Fallout 3

    Would I buy them on Steam? Most definitely yes. Unashamed Steam fanboy.
    Will I be buying them on Steam? No. Take a wild stab in the dark why.

    At least I can buy the latter 3 for the PS3 when I get around to buying one of those new cheaper slim versions of the console (by which time there should be plenty of second-hand copies around, if not they should be heavily discounted). DoW II I will have to live without I guess.

    Any dev’s still reading please take note. I doubt I’m alone in this.

  8. Buemba says:

    There are things I like about GFWL, but I can’t overlook the fact that it doesn’t let me buy things in their marketplace because I don’t live in the US (And therefore don’t have a credit card with an American billing address, not to mention that the standalone client doesn’t even work with my version of xp because it’s in Brazilian Portuguese so even if they accepted international credit cards I’d still be unable to add $ to it).

    That’s 5 Fallout 3 DLC and one Street Fighter IV costume pack you didn’t sell because you locked me out of it, you bloody bastards.

  9. Hypocee says:

    Something was bugging me about agreeing with that ‘Wardell’s just riding a sour-grapes waambulance’, so I went back and read again. I dunno. There’s room for interpretation here. The relevant paragraph:

    I wish Microsoft would do a lot more in making the PC better as a gaming platform. For example, the Demigod fiasco with the multiplayer should never have happened. Developers on the PC should not have to license a third-party NAT facilitator. If I was making a game for the Xbox, I get that for free. But on the PC, some of us have to become network experts. I didn’t sign on to become some sort of IT network guy. And I would love if Microsoft would make these servers available–and they do under Games for Windows Live–without having all these strings attached.

    An uncharitable reading of that is ‘I want all my infrastructure for free from Microsoft waa waa’, and it’s certainly possible that’s what he meant, but the way I read it he’s saying two separate things that have been unfortunately concatenated into one paragraph of text:
    1. In the Space-year 2009, when virtually everybody’s behind a router and has been for five to ten years, game developers using DirectX down the line – DirectDraw, DirectInput etc. down to DirectNetwork (as I presume it’s called) – still have to licence a third-party NAT traversal solution. Not paying for a server or providing TrueSkill rankings, just the low-level business of temporarily forwarding some virtual ports. Is this really something Microsoft needs to leave to every third party? If MS continues to patch and upgrade the infrastructure of Windows gaming, as it does, should NAT not be a standardised 50k DLL in DirectX that everyone can use and forget about? Is this a symptom of chicanery or waning interest at MS?
    2. Choosing GFWL for your licenced lobby and matchmaking service should not entail patch delays and surcharges; I read ‘these strings’ as referring to the previous paragraph, where that’s what he’s complaining about: delays and surcharges for patches that may not even be the dev’s fault, but due to e.g. new antivirus conflicts or defective driver updates. By all means charge your licencing fee for the community service, but importing punitive business practices from your unified hardware and software platform is inappropriate.

    • Geoff says:

      “should NAT not be a standardised 50k DLL in DirectX that everyone can use and forget about?”

      It cannot be. The only sure-fire solution to allow people to do on-the-fly two-way connections to each other through typical home NAT (really PAT) routers is to have an accessible server out on the public Internet. Which is how Xbox Live does it, and those servers cost a lot of money.

      There is no magic code that can be copied for free and installed on your computer that solves the problem, because of the fundamental workings of PAT (Port Address Translation, AKA NAT Overload). With Xbox Live, the funding for that infrastructure comes from charging the gamers a subscription fee, and the reliability of that infrastructure comes from certifying the clients (the games and consoles) which connect to it.

      With GFW Live, the funding comes from charging the developers to use the service, and the reliability comes from certifying the game that uses it. Both the payment and the certification requirements must be frustrating for a developer, especially a small one, but they’re there for a legitimate reason, not because M$ is teh sux0r.

    • Hypocee says:

      [Explanation of NAT]

      Thank you for that. Except I’m not an idiot, which means I wasn’t talking about having the server hardcoded or Microsoft providing the server for free; yeesh. Establish_tunnel(Protocol, LobbyServerIPAddress|LobbyServerURL, PublicKey). Dev points the game at whatever server they pay for in one way or the other, either independently, GFWL, Gamespy, whatever. Tunnel Just Works at least on the client side, rather than the game dev taking, what, a few man-months to research and reinvent yet another hack across three layers of the IP stack. Seems like a prime candidate for infrastructure work to me.

  10. Hug_dealer says:

    even if that is what he is saying, thats still a gimme gimme gimme attitude.

    • Hypocee says:

      Mathematically, I suppose so. In the real world, more a donttakefrommeandbreakmybusiness donttakefrommeandbreakmybusiness donttakefrommeandbreakmybusiness. Suit yourself.

  11. Smurfy says:

    Top stories tonight: Brad Wardell says something sensible.

    • Kadayi says:

      Maybe an attempt to make up for this foolishness: –

      link to

      He attempts to clarify that its not because he supports Glenn Beck, but is upset that UPS aren’t supporting the network elsewhere, as if Beck is the only problem with Fox News. Fox news who are little more than the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch and his extremist views. Back during Bushes days, any government protests were labelled ‘Anti-American’ nowadays Fox News is encouraging any halfwit racist they can to get on a sponsored bus and go ‘protest’ Obama over the fictious ‘Death Camps’: –

  12. IvanHoeHo says:

    I think I just spotted a full page flash ad of xbox live points, which is at least slightly ironic, considering the circumstances.

  13. Cross Joe says:

    GFWL corrupted my arkham asylum savegame. it has happened to other people on forums yet no proposed fix. thanks to gfwl and its insistence on gifting us with the console experience i have to play the main game throgh again (collecting each stupid riddler achievementbait) before i am worthy do the good challenge maps. if i find anyone connected with this idea i would like to put my hand down their throat and mutilate their lungs.


  14. Rei Onryou says:

    I want GFWL to work, but it just doesn’t. It’s too mixed and messed about whether it wants to be live XBox Live or different, while trying to look/handle the same, but not.

    If Microsoft actually put the resources into it that they do for XBox Live with a team that’s actually focussed on the PC as a platform, then it may work. As it is, you’re lucky if it does what you want.

  15. Bursar says:

    I bought one GFWL game, Dawn of War 2. I really liked the idea of the single player campaign and wasn’t bothered about multiplayer at all.

    I had huge problems getting GFWL to work. I could sign in on the web easily enough, but the game flat out refused. I found the fact that the single player campaign required you be logged in to GFWL to be slightly offensive given that it COULDN’T log in.

    The tech support were pretty rubbish (insisting it was a firewall issue), and it took a week of googling Event Manager error messages before I managed to find a fix which worked. Which was of course nothing to do with the firewall, it was actually a Vista issue.

    So Microsoft GFWL not working with Microsoft Vista. Bravo.

    DoW2 was great though, but the hassle to get it to work really spoilt the experience. I came very close to pirating it on the basis that i’d already bought it and quite wanted to play it!

  16. dave says:

    What the hell are you talking fox is the least racist news station out there they hate everybody unlike there competetors who only hate low income hard working americans and the capitilism they believe in

  17. ak says:

    All I have to say is that after batman I will not buy another GWFL game (including bioshock 2). I currently have 3 GWFL (gears of war (which I liked) fallout 3 (which is ok) and batman (which seems really good).

    The problem is that i was playing in ‘offline’ mode (and all is well). But then I wanted to download the free content for batman. To do that I had to update the client. Now I can no longer play in off line mode (yes I can create a new id; but then I can’t continue my current game; which is stored on the local disk). The whole thing is excessively confusing and restrictive and try to find a simple explanation of what is going on and like most of ms crap it is enshrined in secrecy. There is simply no reason for this crap at least with steam I can easily save and mod games. Anyways elemental is very high on my list of games to buy so I’m very glad they are skipping gwfl because I will not buy another gwfl game (and if games like those on pc came out for linux I would never buy another windows game).

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