Microsoft today announced that it has officially begun its unified Games for Windows program at the retail level with the release of two titles, Traveller's Tales' LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, and Relic Entertainment's Company of Heroes. All games participating in Games for Windows will feature a distinctive branding bar similar to those used on console game boxes. Games for Windows titles are required to meet a number of criteria, including widescreen support, various reliability standards, 64-bit Windows support, Xbox 360 controller support for games with gamepad control options, streamlined game installation, the ability to be launched from within Windows Media Center, as well as Windows Vista-specific features such as compatibility with the upcoming operating system's integrated Games Explorer.
In addition to the release of these first two games, September will also see 7500 retail stores across the United States begin to display Games for Windows branding. Ziff Davis will also launch its Official Games for Windows magazine, a rebranding of its long running publication Computer Gaming World. See our Games for Windows overview for more about the company's initiatives.