Games for Windows: Games on Demand Goes Live

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Games for Windows: Games on Demand Goes Live

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Games for Windows: Games On Demand has gone live and since there's no good way to say it, I'm going to just go ahead and put it out there: It kind of sucks.

I'm a PC gamer. I can be a little militant about it at times, although I'm usually happy enough to let the button-mashing rabble have their fun as long as they remember their place. But the one thing that's always irked me about consoles - that I've maybe even been a little bit envious of - is the enormous library of games available through online services like Xbox Live Arcade. So when Microsoft announced that it was finally getting around to launching a Games on Demand service for the PC, I was naturally stoked.

Consider me un-stoked. The service went live yesterday and while it seems to work well enough, at this point it's looking pretty lame in every meaningful way. A grand total of eight Games for Windows titles are available and to mark the big event, Microsoft is offering 50 percent off both Viva Pinata and Shadowrun, and a free version of something called Tinker. You don't see that kind of deal every day, kids.

Even at half-price, though, Viva Pinata is still listing for $9.99, whereas most retailers are selling the boxed version (if you can find a copy) for less. The regular-priced games aren't much better; the standard version of Fallout 3, for instance, lists for $59.99, yet for the same price I can nip down to the local store and pick up the Game of the Year edition that comes with all the DLC.

Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. The service is brand-new, after all; bumps will be smoothed and the catalog is bound to grow. But if Microsoft is serious about this, and about PC gaming as a whole, why is it throwing us such crappy bones? Half off Shadowrun? Give me a break.

Still, it's not going to set your computer on fire (I hope) and there's a free game on the table, so there's no harm in checking it out. Games for Windows: Games on Demand requires the latest Games for Windows Live client software, so grab a copy here, take it for a spin and let us know what you think.

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Meh. I prefer my hard copies anyway. Not that I game on my PC much anyway, so may just keep an eye on what happens.

Though Tinker is a pretty neat little puzzler; for a freebee, that is :)

God, who gives a shit?

GFW Live is one of the worst "services" I've used for gaming on the PC.

Woodsey:
God, who gives a shit?

GFW Live is one of the worst "services" I've used for gaming on the PC.

Yep. Who in Msoft thought it would be a good idea to only let you save while online on singleplayer games, and then make logging on more difficult than doing tumour removal surgery with your knees?

I tried it, and I think Steam will suffice...

Andy: Silly question: Can you actually access your friends list through that lovely windows app?

Cause the only stuff I could was download pointless demos/videos and edit my payment information.

And Universe At War still hates me.....

Will they cut this whole "Gays For Windows - LIVE" [1] bullshit? It didn't work, and probably will not work ever. It's just unneccesary dead weight on games.

[1] I'm not homophobic, but i won't pass up the opportunity for incredibly lame pun no matter what.

Furburt:

Woodsey:
God, who gives a shit?

GFW Live is one of the worst "services" I've used for gaming on the PC.

Yep. Who in Msoft thought it would be a good idea to only let you save while online on singleplayer games, and then make logging on more difficult than doing tumour removal surgery with your knees.

Not to mention it stops you from playing games without telling you why - I've heard a story where someone went to play Fallout 3, went to patch it, but needed to patch GFW Live first only nothing actually told them they needed to.

The only good thing about it is that I like the little GFW logo that they've got on boxes now. I just wish they didn't force you to use the useless piece of shit.

Honestly? I've never had a problem with GFW, and I do like having it link up my achievements with my XBox live account. And it at least means us PC folk could get the Fallout 3 DLC.

Apparently, Microsoft are completely unaware of how to be the underdog. Maybe they should go ask Apple for advice...

This seems pretty bad.
I mean, if you're gong to make a digital distribution system, then you have to at least quasi-match the phenomenal success of Steam in terms of features, ease of use, and accessibility. I've only heard bad things about this Windows LIVE, and all the issues seem to be no-brainer, 'why would you do that' kind of things.

I mean, the Xbox marketplace is great! And I really mean that! It's easy to find things, easy to navigate, and you're never lost (Though I wish they'd put all new 'music' for games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero in a totally separate category). So why not start with something like that as a base, and build on it? Unless they really just don't give a shit about PC gamers, then that explains everything.

Hahahaha thanks for advising us of the bad service!

Thank god we have steam.

Tinkers actually quite good, also i found no obvious problems with GFWL because ive been using it for Dawn of War 2. The whole you have to b eonline to do anything worth shit is annoying, but since you probably have an XBL account anyway with internet then theres not much to complain about, with stuff like shadowrun and resident evil 5 on there i might use it for more than Tinker and DOW2 now.

Hrm, the client is kind of interesting. They've definitely taken a lot of cues from the Zune client interface, which is a good thing. It looks nice, is well organized, that sort of thing. It still doesn't have any connection with your Xbox Live/GFW friends list though - you'd think that would be one of the first things they'd move on, given how the accounts are already integrated.

The prices seem to be the same as Steam, at least for the games that are on both services. If Microsoft is following the same download rights pattern that Xbox Live and the Zune platforms do, you'll be able to re-download the games later.

The installation process for a downloaded game (Tinker is free) went smoothly, and I was able to launch the game straight from the client. I don't know how well that list is going to work if you had a bunch of games though - it seems like an area that concisely lists your library would be nice.

Overall it's not terrible though - definitely a huge improvement over the original GFW client software. Still, other than exclusive games I can't see why I'd pick this over Steam.

When I can play games on my PC that add to my xbox live gamerscore I'll give a shit. But not a big shit.

also, you know, I kinda liked shadowrun. I'd prefered they call it something else so as to not make me wish I was playing a REAL shadowrun game, but the product wasn't all that bad.

GFWL is crap, steam is a better distribution service then it will ever be AND any game that has GFWL on its box has a hidden install limit on it, for most games its like 10 installs but its still a fucken install limit and its hidden.

Toty54:
Thank god we have steam.

I agree, Steam just curbstomps GFWL in every respect (including community and account management).

The prices are much to high when better services like Steam and Impulse are giving constant, great sales on popular games. Why should I buy Resident Evil 5 when it's the same price on Steam and I know that Steam doesn't have as many problems as GWFL? Plus, I'm sure plenty of games in the infantile catalogue of GWFL are on Steam. This is a good idea, but Microsoft needs to A) Lower Prices (or have sales, or something) or B)Start offering up an actual reason to use it over the modicum of better download services. It's not a competitive business model, and it's going to get screwed over fast unless Microsoft gets on the ball.

TheBlackKnight:
Andy: Silly question: Can you actually access your friends list through that lovely windows app?

Virgil says no. :)

I don't see what you can do with it, really, aside from download a handful of games, demos, DLC and trailers. There's just nothing to it. It may not be "terrible" in the sense that it won't give you cancer (probably) but as I said in the news post, it sure as hell doesn't give me any sense at all that Microsoft is serious about the PC as a gaming platform.

sirdanrhodes:
I tried it, and I think Steam will suffice...

Same...Im rather happy with my Steam and the games offered on there.

Funny how exactly the same interface is regarded as awesome on the xbox but seen as crap on the PC. Makes you wonder why console users have so low standards.

TheBlackKnight:
Andy: Silly question: Can you actually access your friends list through that lovely windows app?

Andy Chalk:
Virgil says no. :)

Nope - all it really is is a pretty version of the Steam Store. It seems to do the game downloads and installs adequately enough, and I'm sure trailers and demos work just fine too, but that's about it.

Once you're in the game you can pull up the ingame interface and see/message your friends. This isn't new to the Games for Windows games - Fallout 3 and Dawn of War have been doing this for a while. It works in the Tinker game too, which I tried.

Hiphophippo:
When I can play games on my PC that add to my xbox live gamerscore I'll give a shit.

You can, that's what Games for Windows is - I just earned a few achievements in Tinker. I assume most of the games available for download have achievements, though I only know for sure that Fallout 3 and Dawn of War II do.

According to my brother, the only thing "Windows Live happy videos games times herp derp derp whatever thingy" is good for is the fact that it allows you to talk to people on the Xbox 360.

Andy Chalk:
I'm a PC gamer. I can be a little militant about it at times, although I'm usually happy enough to let the button-mashing rabble have their fun as long as they remember their place.

Oh so now you too are also disrespecting us console gamers? For shame. Sorry if that's not what you meant but still...

Anyways I'm dissapointed ths new system is bland so far. Never heard of it but it sounds quite interesting and has potential to link XBL and Windows PC gamers. Hope it picks up the pace later. I mean come on, the original Fallout 3 for $59.99!? Con artists...

pc gaming ? i thought it was going the way of the dodo , but hey give it time they'll get around to the better games

All the games I own that insisted on talking to GFWL had achievements, so it's a pretty safe bet that the rest of them do too.

Worgen:
GFWL is crap, steam is a better distribution service then it will ever be AND any game that has GFWL on its box has a hidden install limit on it, for most games its like 10 installs but its still a fucken install limit and its hidden.

hmmpf my install limit was 1. I can install the game, but I can't login to my XBox account, because my CD key is already in use....by my xbox account.....

Thanks Virgil and Andy, I just wanted to be sure that the problem is not in front of the keyboard.

I thought they shut down all the shadowrun servers ages ago? Why is that game even still purchasable?

Article:
Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. (...) But if Microsoft is serious about this...

It's not.

But seriously, it really doesn't seem to be. Judging by the quality of the Xbox 360 software, they don't seem to be spending nearly as much energy on GfW. Also not many games are GfW, making it a very small library. Since being GfW, besides having some nice features, also means not being a whole bunch of other things, I personally aren't even sad not many games go GfW.

I don't understand why GfW games aren't at least required to have Achievements, something I understand should be really easy for developers to add. (Right now only GfW LIVE games are required to, and can have Achievements.) I'm sure simply adding Achievements to all GfW games would entice (some) gamers to be a bit more positive on the system just like that. Of course this is only a small detail of the system as a whole.

Virgil:

TheBlackKnight:
Andy: Silly question: Can you actually access your friends list through that lovely windows app?

Andy Chalk:
Virgil says no. :)

Nope - all it really is is a pretty version of the Steam Store. It seems to do the game downloads and installs adequately enough, and I'm sure trailers and demos work just fine too, but that's about it.

Once you're in the game you can pull up the ingame interface and see/message your friends. This isn't new to the Games for Windows games - Fallout 3 and Dawn of War have been doing this for a while. It works in the Tinker game too, which I tried.

Hiphophippo:
When I can play games on my PC that add to my xbox live gamerscore I'll give a shit.

You can, that's what Games for Windows is - I just earned a few achievements in Tinker. I assume most of the games available for download have achievements, though I only know for sure that Fallout 3 and Dawn of War II do.

shit. guess I'm getting tinker then.

Furburt:

Woodsey:
God, who gives a shit?

GFW Live is one of the worst "services" I've used for gaming on the PC.

Yep. Who in Msoft thought it would be a good idea to only let you save while online on singleplayer games, and then make logging on more difficult than doing tumour removal surgery with your knees?

Agreed. I want Gay Faliure Fucks Windows Live to fall off a bridge, or die in a fire or whatever will get rid of it.

Digital distribution on PC = Steam. That's the only client I have installed and I will never install anything else. Especially MS copycat DD shop.

So you're saying a service that has only been running for less than 48 hours is a bit crap? wow that IS shocking news. /sarcasm.

What did you expect? not everything works perfectly first time out, now it is out maybe there will be impetus to improve upon it and make it sturdier and more useful perhaps?

Andy Chalk:
But the one thing that's always irked me about consoles - that I've maybe even been a little bit envious of - is the enormous library of games available through online services like Xbox Live Arcade. So when Microsoft announced that it was finally getting around to launching a Games on Demand service for the PC, I was naturally stoked.

Uhm. Steam, Impulse, Gamers Gate, Kongregate, 1001 other websites with games.

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