Games for Windows FAIL

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I only ever bought 1 thing on GFWL, Broken Steel for Fallout 3. Just that was a headache. It' so round-a-bout to get anything done. I mean they give you a console for GFWL in game and you can't do anything from it, I had to quit everything, get on GFWL in a browser, find it to download, etc etc. I have several games that use it - Codemasters seems to like it or something, plus Fallout 3/NV, and um... maybe a couple others. Anyway in all cases it presented some unique challenges from trying to get the CD Key in there right to simply getting it to allow me to save my games or not cause some computer crash/lockup whatever.


...Although I like Windows 7. Thanks for that.


No that was the old GFWL - you know... the one where they conned a load of developers (or bribed I guess) to put GFWL on your computer, which (after some xbox advertising) let you play your game.

After that failed I think theyre now trying to break into the digital distribution market. It's just microsoft doesn't know how to break into a market where they aren't already in control. Hell theyre not only not in control, they are the bottom of the bin.

Imagine if steam didn't exist (I know it's like itunes disappearing) GFWL would still be lagging behind Direct2Drive, Impulse, GoG, and Greenman gaming (which launched THIS YEAR)

Boggles the mind really.

iTunes occupies the same region in my list of "reputable digital distributors" that GFWL does. This is mostly thanks to it's decision to only allow media downloads once (although, thankfully, it reneged on this with games - possibly because of updates). Any digital service that does that, in my mind, has signed up with the Devil and is, quite possibly, making him look the less credible partner.

And no, Shamus, it's not pedantic to complain about Xbox advertising in Windows products. It's pointing out an obvious and severe disparity between the quality of support for the two services, whose underpinning is those nasty little "platform fees" that make MS tens of millions of dollars on every COD game that comes out. They want those seven to ten dollars. From you. From me. And Windows developers don't have to pay them. Windows customers don't have to pay them. When Paradox sells a game on Gamer's Gate, Microsoft sees none of it. And that makes them unhappy. So they tried to do something like Steam did, to take money from PC purchases, but they'd much rather have it flat-out from every game sale like they get with Xbox purchases, than to have to actually compete - to produce the better product - like they do in the PC market.

/rant. Sorry about that. Microsoft gets on my nerves sometimes.

Incidentally, does it strike anyone as odd that the forum rules on spelling for platform names are somewhat inconsistent? PC is correct, as is PlayStation - but XBox, xBox, Xbox, xbox, and XBOX are all wrong. DS and PSP fail, as does Wii and wii. Somebody want to update the spelling dictionary for us?

After fighting it in mortal combat for the Fallout 3 DLC's I elected to never use it again. I moved my DLC's to the Fallout 3/data folder, downloaded the mod that removed GFWL from the game, uninstalled the entire program, and went on with my life, happy as can be.

Then this deal came up, and I figured "eh, what the hell". So I buy the game, get a key, but I can't download it. Seems to be having the same problems you stated above.

I've since given up on it. I have better things to do then to subject myself, my computer, and my poor internet connection to the crap that is GFWL.

It was only 10 cents though, so no big loss.

Last time I tried GFWL it was with Shadowrun.... where I was pressured into paying for an XBOX Li- sorry, a Windows Live "gaming" account to be able to properly play multiplayer. Think I gave up after 3 hours of trying to battle with its clunky overbearing interface.

Well I didn't know where to find the product key (seriously, on a Digital download?!), but it ran sort of OK for me. Still was crap though. I won't be using GFWL in the near future. Steam is all I need.


I meant that steam was similar to itunes in that it dominates its particular media sector in digial distribution.

Itunes is the big music digital distributor,
and Steam is the big digital game distributor.

When I tried to buy AOE 3 off GFWL, I had to do all the annoying updating stuff for my Xbox account, even though I dont own an Xbox. Then it told me that GFWL is not supported in my region. This is the internet Microsoft, that shouldnt matter.

GFWL worked perfectly for me for this. I had trouble with freezing when the new Client first updated but I quickly found out that I needed .net framework 4.

After that I downloaded it and am enjoying AOE3 a lot ^_^

Can't wait for more daily deals!


Microsoft is known for lying when it comes to their digital client. It's just horrible malware if you ask me. Don't like it and definitly Steam can have a monopoly because their prices are just tight.

I have to admit I had no problem, despite cruddy Uni internet

Oh God. I had "almost" the very same experience. Yeah, it's been 4 o 5 months since the last time I used an Xbox with my gamertag connected to Xbox LIVE.

When I saw this, I said "wow, only 40 points?" (I still have 80 points in my account). I went through the exact same hassle. I clicked the new terms on the Xbox site and then, for the very simple reason that I don't live in the US and I live in Mexico (kinda wierd, because Canada, US and Mexico shares the same territory for Microsoft, or so I thought) and when I clicked checkout, the page wouldn't let me buy it. Why?, because it's still not available in my territory... I thought it was a simple matter of changing the language to US English, so it could take me to the US GFWL site, but even then it no longer features any way or form to change the language.

Way to go Microsoft, this is the new "pc support" you're giving?, better give up, because it seems that other companies that doesn't even have full knowdelage and money of the very same company that created my operating system has way much much better platforms than yours.

I spit on you.

My downloader crashed three times. Had to restart every time too, took 9 hours to install.

I laughed when I had my CD key too, even though I actually had it. It asks for it, and it's right next to it. And you can't copypaste. The damn system can authenticate this crap itself!

Bought AOE3 the same way and same intentions.

Downloaded. I played. I enjoyed.

I'm now able to shove my digitally overdrooled copy of AOE3 in every of the unfortunate gamers' face, that didn't have the same experience, buying from GFWL.

Guess you shoul've stuck with Steam ;p


Microsoft, what are you doing?
I feel your pain, Shamus!

Wonder if this kind of GFWL tomfoolery is the same reason my friend can't get Halo 2 to work.
Either way, I don't use it and the reasons for me ever using it are seeming more and more... Well, I don't think I had a reason to start with. So are the reasons for me using it going into negatives?

See, if the sale had been on Steam, I would've been like, "Whoa, ten cents?! Gimme gimme NAU!" and slammed the purchase button like it was a witness against the Mob and I was an enforcer, and probably ten minutes later (relatively slow download speed here) I'd have been up to my eyeballs in Age of Empires. But when I saw "Games for Windows Live", I just sort of shook my head, said "Not worth ten cents for the hassle" and went on with my life.

GfWL is a pile of failham on failbread on top of a failplate with... a side of... failjuice... yeah, I'm running out of steam (see what I did there?) with this metaphor, but anyway. It is a shining example of how Microsoft is absolutely, utterly unable to GET OUT OF ITS OWN WAY. It is so mired in legacy systems and design incoherency that it cannot do the simplest things right (like, as someone said above, install the correct version of Microsoft .NET to ensure that the program works). Why should I wrestle with that when there are several cleaner, more dependable and more user-friendly platforms out there?

By the time GfWL gets to where Steam is now, Steam will have advanced to a wireless neural interface with optical overlay that lets you mind-chat with every form of life in the universe.

I remember when Microsoft stood for PC gaming innovation. Those days are over.

I'm under the impression GfWL loves me because it starts almost as fast as Google Chrome, has never crashed, or had any bugs. In terms of resources, more than Steam, but it runs better than Steam. The only problems I have with it is the moderate selection of games, and not enough features.

This sounds oddly familiar. I recently installed Windows 7 and have a fresh install (wonderful nerdy feeling) and I refuse to put that digital barf called GFWL on my hard drive. I've had way too many problems with it in the past. When I saw the Age of Empires III for 10 cents deal, I almost caved, but then when I read about the CD keys running out, I chuckled.

Also, Damn you GFWL, damn you for turning myself and my friends off of Dawn of War II, and wasting a perfectly good game.

Games for Windows Live has ALWAYS been poorly made, it took me 3 Days to get the download to work for Fallout 3 expansion packs. The page would often blink out from existence and wouldn't be there.

And all these people are going on how you shouldn't put all your cards with steam and how they're a monster. They have a service and it WORKS and it WORKS well that's why people like it.

Wow, they didn't even bother to change the installer for the downloadable version? That's fucking insane. That's something I'd expect in the demo of a bad Doom clone from the mid nineties, not from a game released by one of the major players in the game industries through their own service.

Someone mentioned that they need to work off a physical copy, but even if that's the case they should make the copy either figure out it isn't physical, or say the instructions for both cases. Digital distribution is the new thing here, this is like a driver instructor spending hours telling you how to adjust your car seat and then when you're done he just says, 'well now drive. Just drive. Come on, get to it.'

[ring ring]



I didn't experience any problems with the exception of them running out of keys... I clicked add to cart, signed in, agreed to the TOS on the site and bought the game. GFWL installed seamlessly, and so did Age of Empires, again with the exception of them running out of keys. That was the morning after the sale, and when I got back home I had a key.

Sure having to type a key in isn't the greatest, but GFWL is a start. Sure it doesn't really compare with Steam, but seriously it isn't a steaming pile of shit like you say, at least for my computer (a stock pre-built piece of shit Acer.)

I had pretty much the same problems with it when I tried to dl it, but this perfectly illustrated why pc gamers hate gfwl

Yep, getting started on GFWL was a three day nightmare of tech support and head-desking for me.

But it was worth it, if only for me effortlessly getting that ten-cent sale... a year after the nightmare. (Which did nothing else for me... at all. Except achievements. Really bad achievements.)

This sounds oddly familiar. I recently installed Windows 7 and have a fresh install (wonderful nerdy feeling) and I refuse to put that digital barf called GFWL on my hard drive. I've had way too many problems with it in the past. When I saw the Age of Empires III for 10 cents deal, I almost caved, but then when I read about the CD keys running out, I chuckled.

Also, Damn you GFWL, damn you for turning myself and my friends off of Dawn of War II, and wasting a perfectly good game.

I did get the key a day later. You should have installed GFWL, bought the game, installed it where you normally put your games, then uninstalled GFWL.

Had no problem downloading and installing this game. I was kinda pissed having to go agree to new T&C at first, but after that everything happened smoothly. Browser downloaded, installed the game and has since been deleted.
10p game, no problems. The site's gone back to crap now, but the offers they had were decent for a while. If only I hadn't already owned every game on offer apart from Batman, which I don't care about.


You haven't even scratched the surface of how bad GFWL is, Shamus. For us players who regularly play the multiplayer for Dawn of War 2, it's an abomination of the highest order.

The world's worst and most exploitable matchmaking system, bugs and imbalances that go unfixed for as long as months because of Microsoft certification, and an inexcusably clunky interface mars an RTS experience that I feel is superior to Starcraft 2. Thank god Relic has moved on to Steamworks for the next expand-alone (and an Eldar campaign, hoo-ray!).

What's the problem with the match making system? (Has avoided DoW2's multiplayer for many other reasons.)

Also, remember everyone, GFWL started off as a pay service. Microsoft actually wanted you paying them 15 bucks a month for the privilege of being screwed this badly.

Expect to be exposed to Microsoft's completely broken TrueSkill system, where you will be on a regular basis pitted against players who are completely new to the game or are professional Starcraft player-levels of good. And unless you have a team partner you regularly play with, don't bother playing any 2v2 or 3v3.

I think MS is actively trying to sabotage the PC market. If they can convince everyone (or the average consumer, at least) that PC gaming is horrible and hard, they can make people switch to Xbox and make more money off 'em! ...Or so I presume the suits must be thinking.

Which makes no sense at all. They lose money on the consoles, unlike PCs, where they make a profit just by selling the OS. With the Xbox, they need to recoup their losses with sales of games. PC games have already upped their price to $60 for apparently no other reason than the many 'fuck you!'s we've been getting lately (including a lack of support, shitty ports, poor optimization, delayed releases [AC Brotherhood release pushed to Q1 2011, Red Dead Redemption possibly never coming to PC], and countless other bullshit that was never a problem in 2004.) What is it with game developers these days? Why does Microsoft insist on XBOX exclusives? Is it so hard for them to support their other platform? Why not give PCs Kinect support? Why charge us SIXTY dollars for an xbox controller? I can't wait for the Chrome OS to come around and sweep me away from the muck and bullshit that is Microsoft.

P.S., Here's your chance, Sony! Make me love you!

It's the OS!

Same kind of thing hapened to me. Got as far as entering my credit card and it wouldn't accept it. It's a mastercard from a major company and never had any problems before. Tried to contact customer service and it wen't something like this.

Customer service rep - There is no problem with your credit card.
Me - Brilliant, thats what I told you.
Rep - Thank you for contacting us, please let us know if you require further assistance.
Me- Yes, why can't I buy the game I am trying to order.
Rep - It must be something to do with your credit card, please use another form of payment.
Me - Are you retarded?
Rep - Pardon?
Me - What other forms of payment do you accept?
Rep- Any major credit or debit card.
Me - *the sounds of me repeatedly banging my head against a wall until I can't see.
Will not be using gfwl again.But hey, there is a Steam sale at the moment, everybody wins:)

They don't care about it; half of MS don't even know the fucking thing exists.

On a PCG UK podcast a few months back they were talking about it, and how one of them had been to some thing about MS concerning Windows 7, and when they got on to how it's better for gaming the guy who was talking hadn't even heard of GfWL when asked if it would be integrated better!

GfWL is seriously the shittiest piece of programming Ive ever come across, including some viruses.

I just got Dawn of War II on sale on steam. Whoohoo. After patiently wating for 3-4 hours for the game to download, I launch it, ready for action.

Then windows live happens.

Now, after half an hour, 3 different password reset pages and lots of teeth gnashing, I'm reduced to forum raging. I already have a windows live account, but the ingame login wouldn't accept the password. The windows live site is no help, neither is the ingame "forgotten password" link, and from experience I dread having to possibly go to Microsoft customer support, that dreadful heap of bull dung. AARRGH!

And this is on steam. Why the fuck put your game on steam if you're going to cram shit like GfWL in there with it?

End result: I cannot play the game I Just PAID MONEY FOR, because a group of retards is to lazy to do any quality control on a fucking program. FUCK.



P.S: this sums up my view of Games for Windows Live pretty nicely:

This is just as bad as my experience was. I can't believe they can't get the simplest fucking things right, like having the terms and conditions on the same fucking page, hell even the same fucking website... and not requiring you to log in with your GFWL account just to tick a box.

I've haven't played it yet, the GFW Marketplace program wont work, it only error reports. Frankly the effort and the cost of electricity required to get it working isn't worth the fucking 10 pence I spent. I'd have been better off with a packet of Space Raiders.


13) One Microsoft rep suggests closing GFWL, and letting the game download "in the background." Wait, so when I close GFWL it's still running? It's not visible in the system tray, or on the taskbar, but it's there in the background eating CPU and bandwidth? Do I need to explain why this is a horrible setup and disrespectful of the end user?

Reminds me of Windows Media Player, except that horrid pile of shit not only runs in the background but CANNOT be ended. If you end the process it just restarts without your permission automatically.

Not entirely true, Start > Run > "regedit", go to the processes list and you can disable Windows Media Player and a bunch of other useless shiz for running.

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