MIcrosoft Promises Big Things Ahead for Games for Windows Live

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MIcrosoft Promises Big Things Ahead for Games for Windows Live

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Hang on to your hats, kids, because Microsoft promises, really and for true, that Games for Windows Live is going to get better.

It's kind of a tired joke by now, making fun of Microsoft's fumbling efforts to find relevance in the PC gaming scene. And in all fairness, Kevin Unangst's recent comments about the service are far from unreasonable; after all, he's not promising that Games for Windows Live will save PC gaming, just that it's going to suck less in the future.

Unangst, senior producer at Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, said the idea of bringing things like achievements, friends lists and multiplayer matchmaking to PC gaming is a good one but Games for Windows Live got off to a rough start because it was designed first and foremost as a console service. "We also didn't back it up with the most important thing, which is doing fantastic games to take advantage of the service," he said. "A network by itself isn't valuable - there needs to be great games to take advantage."

The plan now is to address those shortcomings by seeking input from developers, like Fable studio Lionhead and Gas Powered Games, which does Age of Empires Online. "I look at it as like what Halo did for Xbox Live, where you had Bungie and Microsoft going back and saying, 'To make a great multiplayer game here's some things I need in the service, here's my audience'," he continued. "The Age of Empires team has got a lot of great input and the same can be said for Lionhead, who said, 'We're going to build Fable 3 on the PC' and know what they want out of the service."

"The underpinnings are great," he added, noting that the relaunched GFW Marketplace is greatly improved and that developers are starting to show interest in the platform once again. "Epic did a great job of promoting Live with Bulletstorm," he said. "They're pleased with the platform and the service is going to continue to get better over time."

Maybe "getting better over time" isn't exactly shooting for the stars but you have to start somewhere and given Microsoft's ugly lurching so far, keeping expectations low probably isn't a bad idea.

Source: CVG

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Well I'm certainly convinced. How about you?

It might actually help, if you know, they brought over their flagship games.
I mean it's like hey guys Halo really made live for the Xbox, we should probably bring it over, and several other 360 only titles, and make it a GFWL exclusive or something, that would really launch our system against other competitors and actually make us worthwhile instead of just being a useless DRM masked as a service.

To be honest, I have never had any issues with GFW or even GFWL (unlike plenty of people here on the forums, I'm quite sure). So on a personal level, I do not dislike the service at all.
Once set up all your GFWL games log in automatically on launch and you don't even see the interface for it beyond the small pop-up early on.

The GFW marketplace however is a ham fisted attempt at creating something like steam, and fails horribly at doing so. Next to no games available, high prices, and a client that is sluggish beyond comprehension.

Go basic.

Fix the platform so that 98%+ people can use it.

Then you can work on your games and fantastic ideas.

Plus bring back daily deals, those things were brilliant.

I care less about an achievement system and more about microsoft making sure that the big third party titles hit the pc platform and take advantage of the superior technologies present in the PC.

What happened to Marvel vs Capcom 3 for pc? Capcom just shrugged off the PC medium saying its too vulnerable to hackers. This set a dangerous precedent. Microsoft should work on encouraging developers to produce for the pc.

Find a way to better integrate the Xbox and the PC. Make them compliment each other rather than compete.

God damn it, reading the headline I thought you were going to say they had scrapped it. :(

Honestly, I have no reason to care anymore. The only game I have that uses it is Dawn of War 2, and now that I have Retribution, I don't need GFWL anymore.

They aren't offering anything different from Steam other than far less games, but it's not surprising they haven't been as worried about PC multiplayer when their console service is making them way more. I'm glad they might possibly focus on that now.

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Even if I wasn't refusing to use it anyway, too little too late

I find it funny that the guy's last name is "Unangst". Like he's going to "unangst" the people that are pissed off over Games for Windows Live.

Anyway, I got Halo 2 on PC a while back and it doesn't run amazingly well on my laptop, but it's OK. However, Games for Windows Live takes forever to load and sucks so bad. I have Steam for some demos, and it loads a million times faster. I don't think I'd ever have to use anything else.

Also, Windows Live stuff is always in Windows Task Manager. When I tell it to end the process, it just comes back up. Is there anyway I can get it to stay off for good until I need it to play Halo 2?

Wow does that picture remind me of the Steam marketplace.

Yeah, Microsoft. I'm going to trust you think time. *Wink* *wink* I can tell how serious about it you are this time around afterall.

Oh, so it's going to disappear off the face of the earth? Because I can't think of anything else that would improve GFWL.

Andy Chalk:

"I look at it as like what Halo did for Xbox Live,

Sold off the PC rights to boost your new console sales?
Or do you mean allowing people to obsessively call each other fags?

How about you do one or more of these three things?

1) Match Steam's Prices
2) Match GoG's "Hands off DRM" policy
3) Match HotU back catalogue

Or, if you're still not shooting for the stars, get it to work and not require authentification all the time. We're not all thieves.

I REALLY don't see how it is so bad now. It works, and it does well for a majority of the people. Most of the hate seems like it just has a bad reputation like Vista.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Andy Chalk:

"I look at it as like what Halo did for Xbox Live,

Sold off the PC rights to boost your new console sales?
Or do you mean allowing people to obsessively call each other fags?

How about you do one or more of these three things?

1) Match Steam's Prices
2) Match GoG's "Hands off DRM" policy
3) Match HotU back catalogue

Or, if you're still not shooting for the stars, get it to work and not require authentification all the time. We're not all thieves.

What does HotU stand for?

I'd be interested in GFWL if Halo Reach comes out for it. Forge 2.0 has my interest. I guess AoE Online does too, but not much else would. You expect Microsoft owned IPs to get tied to GFWL, just like you expect Valve IPs to get tied to Steam, but for the rest of it I'll take Impulse or GamersGate, and unless MS drops DRM, they won't convince me to use their service in general.

There's no hope though for them to have Halo Reach PC vs 360 online matches. I'd get a kick out of fragging the poor sods who think consoles are the way to go for FPS with a much more precise pointing device.

migo:

What does HotU stand for?

Home of the Underdogs

I know this sounds cliche at this point, but there is one thing that will get me to pay strong attention to GFWL as a potential contender to Steam. Give us:

Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3
Halo 3
Halo: ODST
Halo: Reach
Fable 2

Even if they just gave us the Gears of War series, I'd be willing to forgive a lot.

JeanLuc761:
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3

Even if they just gave us the Gears of War series, I'd be willing to forgive a lot.

I think that's mainly down to Epic thinking all PC gamers are pirates...

At least he isn't under the impression that it's a really popular service.

I think if they really work on this, they could make something good out of it. I mean if they took a lot of pointers from Steam, that'd be great. It'd make the system far better. I think they almost need to take it right back to basics and rebuild it with more of a emphasis on subtlety.

GamesB2:

JeanLuc761:
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3

Even if they just gave us the Gears of War series, I'd be willing to forgive a lot.

I think that's mainly down to Epic thinking all PC gamers are pirates...

Certainly possible, but I think the mildly lackluster sales of GoW PC were a sizeable factor as well.

I miss the old days of Epic...Unreal 1 & 2, Unreal Tournament 2004 with free map packs...ahh, them were the days.

The PC gaming market presents a conflict of interest for Microsoft: they make more money in royalties, per unit via Xbox 360 games than on PC. By a LONG shot. Yet, the PC platform competes with that market for every game that goes multiplatform.

Just by simple market analysis, this means their pledge is skeptical at best, and total bullshit at worst.

JeanLuc761:
Certainly possible, but I think the mildly lackluster sales of GoW PC were a sizeable factor as well.

I miss the old days of Epic...Unreal 1 & 2, Unreal Tournament 2004 with free map packs...ahh, them were the days.

I miss the really good old old days of Epic... Xargon and Jill of the Jungle!

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They were the simple, DRM free days...

Rednog:
It might actually help, if you know, they brought over their flagship games.
I mean it's like hey guys Halo really made live for the Xbox, we should probably bring it over, and several other 360 only titles, and make it a GFWL exclusive or something, that would really launch our system against other competitors and actually make us worthwhile instead of just being a useless DRM masked as a service.

I agree, also here's some extra text so the mods don't get angry at me.

I'm not really sure why we need a Games for Windows platform, anymore. Almost everything they've ever talked about doing has been done, and better, by Steam. Do we need yet another place to purchase games digitally? About the only thing they could do is link it up with XBL like they've done in the past, but that doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to build an entire platform.

If they just want a dedicated platform to sell and support their IP, sure, go right ahead, but I can't be the only person who doesn't care to buy games across multiple digital distribution outlets.

Also, I don't see anyone planning on releasing new titles without some form of DRM. I'm pretty sure we'll have that for a good long time to come, except on older back catalog titles.

My experiences with GFWL were miserable but thankfully brief as I've only ever had to use it with Fallout 3, and then only to get the DLC.

I'm a forum moderator for Bethesda and we all received free DLC codes, yay! However my attempts to acquire the first DLC met with numerous problems and I eventually gave up. When the second DLC was released I tried trouble-shooting my problems again and it turned out that I had missed one of several required authentications - although the errors I was encountering never even suggested that this was the problem. With this fixed I was able to download both DLC, and then the third one when it came out.

When the forth DLC was released I ran in to new problems. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what the problem was and eventually gave up. I gave it another shot when the fifth and final DLC was released but despite having help from the Bethesda Community Manager I couldn't get these last two DLC to download. Thankfully I hadn't lost any money and I was able to play then when the GOTY edition was released.

GFWL may be better now, I heard horror stories about Steam when it was first released but since finally jumping in to that boat last Fall (for FONV) I've had a great time with it, and now use it quite a lot. One day hopefully GFWL will be just as good . . . but given the experiences I had it feels like the entire thing needs to be ripped out and started over.

It's possible these are no longer issues, but I'd say this are the top four things I ran in to:

1. Either you need to make a platform wholly for PCs or you need to make Live itself mult-platform, but trying to maintain GFWL as this offshoot just doesn't work. There were multiple times when I was on logged in to GFWL and trying to do something when I'd suddenly find that I had been shunted over to the main Live site and it was now cross at me for not being logged in. I tried logging in with my GFWL account and that didn't work so I can only assume GFWL wasn't supposed to be sending me to Live. This is not only extremely shoddy design but something easily fixes if GFW is kept separate or if Live is made truly multi-platform.

2. Many of my headaches came from vague error messages. Not every problem can have a clear description and trouble-shooting guide but GFWL should be able to tell if my account is entirely authenticated or not, and then tell me. The only reason I figured out my initial problems was because I tried a variety of unrelated tasks and one of them finally told me I couldn't do that because my account wasn't authenticated - that information would have helped from the get go. I have no clue what the later problems stemmed from because again they told me next to nothing.

3. It's possible this was a limitation of the FO3 implementation rather than a general issue, but if I entered GFWL from the FO3 menu I couldn't purchase DLC, I had to get out of the game and launch it separately which was extremely annoying.

4. Don't hide my stuff. If I download something from Steam I know right where it is and Steam will let me use it even if Steam is in offline mode. In GFWL case they'd hide everything and I can't use it when offline which required finding where it was squirreled away and moving it.

My partner and I had thought of getting Bulletstorm, but when we realized it used GFWL, we opted against it. More empty promises wont change anything.

And even if they do go through with it, just seems like a Johnny-come-lately grab for the digital market that's done so well despite the platforms "stewards" neglect.

You know, I wouldn't mind GFWL being designed for consoles (even if that already shows MS is full of fucking morons, or maybe they're deliberately sabotaging their own market) if it actually worked. The fact is though it's broken and can never be fixed as long as MS is doing the fixing. I still can't get Bulletstorm to work because GFWL doesn't work at all. Epic likes it though huh? Well they really have shown they don't give a shit about PCs anymore so I don't see how their thoughts on the subject matter. If they really do like it's good enough for them though, they really need to get some self respect.

Andy Chalk:
"Epic did a great job of promoting Live with Bulletstorm," he said.

Because Windows Live DEMANDS that you must live inside its stupid predetermined selection of countries in order to play games that require GFWL the PC version of Bulletstorm was not released in my country (Iceland) or on STEAM (for Icelanders).

I could literally have a real PC copy of Bulletstorm right here in my very hands but if I tried to play it I would just get a message saying "ops! GFWL doesn't support your nation cus we say so! No Bulletstorm for you I am afraid...".

The same applies to Xbox live, though I was able to get around that by using a fake British address.

That said, GFWL is a horrible service and I hope it dies before it can cause any more damage to PC gaming.

Maybe I'll stop being angry at them when they let me use my GFWL account...

Also, what exactly is the difference between GFW, GFWL and Live, and why do I seem to have separate accounts for all of them?

Andy Chalk:
The plan now is to address those shortcomings by seeking input from developers, like Fable studio Lionhead and Gas Powered Games, which does Age of Empires Online.

Bah... if they half a brain between them they'd be talking to the developers who've dropped GFWL rather than developers that are attached limpet-like to the MS teat.

archvile93:
Epic likes it though huh? Well they really have shown they don't give a shit about PCs anymore so I don't see how their thoughts on the subject matter. If they really do like it's good enough for them though, they really need to get some self respect.

Epic? Self-Respect? Bwahahahaha... The way they've been acting like they were sole developers of Bulletstorm should be a giant neon indicator for it's absence.

JeanLuc761:

GamesB2:

JeanLuc761:
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3

Even if they just gave us the Gears of War series, I'd be willing to forgive a lot.

I think that's mainly down to Epic thinking all PC gamers are pirates...

Certainly possible, but I think the mildly lackluster sales of GoW PC were a sizeable factor as well.

Yes but they blamed poor sales on piracy(yarrr) and not, for example, that the game had been out for over a year on the 360 so most of the people interested in Gears already owned it.

Rednog:
It might actually help, if you know, they brought over their flagship games.

Yes and that would be the sensible thing to do if they were really interested in supporting PC gaming rather than just scooping up the occasional windfall when they toss PC gamers some table scraps.

The reason GFWL won't be able to compete with other combine DRM/digital distribution/etc packages is because Microsoft aren't 100% behind it. They won't do anything with GFWL that could in any way imaginable (including paranoid delusions) affect their console revenue stream and the half-hearted approach shows they'd much rather have more console customers than offer an equal service to the PC.

Why the fuck they even bother is the real question.

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