Games for Windows Takes on Steam, Set to Launch PC Digital Content Distribution Platform

By Nick Breckon, Jul 22, 2008 12:20pm PDT Microsoft today announced that its Games for Windows initiative is set to expand with the launch an online PC gaming marketplace this fall. The service will deliver free and paid downloadable game content, along with trailers, demos, and other content comparable to the company's Xbox Live offerings.

In addition to the added features, the Games for Windows Live interface will also be redesigned to be "much more PC friendly." Microsoft has not yet specified whether full games will be made available for purchase on the network.

The company further announced that all Games for Windows Live multiplayer features are now entirely free.

Games for Windows Gold offered achievements, matchmaking, cross-platform play, and other features at a monthly subscription of $7.99, or $49.99 yearly. While the same features carry similar charges on Microsoft's Xbox 360 platform, gamers often criticized Microsoft for offering them at the same price on the PC, as free programs have traditionally offered comparable functionality.

Shacknews will be speaking with Microsoft later today on the announcement, so check back later for more details.

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42 Threads | 183 Comments*

  • Competition is good and Valve has a good foothold with Steam. Yes, M$ is evil and cheats since it has access to the end user at the level of the operating system. However, M$ has yet to make a dent in iTunes. This is because they are selling stuff. M$ cannot just give away games, even if it bundles a distribution service in with Windows. If they can sell games for less than Steam and make a profit, well, thats the market, and Steam will have to adjust prices to compete. But even if M$ packages GFW:L with Windows, it is just a market place, just like Steam, and they are not selling the service, Steam is free too. So, while I am scared of M$ abusing their monopoly, I think Steam is safe as long as we all stick to our loyalty and Valve continues to innovate and evolve with the market.

  • Well I don't think anyone is too surprised by this though it is welcome, more competition = good.

    The odds the GFW marketplace will ever be built directly into Windows are hard to predict as any time MS adds something to their operating system they get sued by company x in that field claiming they are abusing their market share with windows etc. It would be good for PC gaming if the GFW marketplace was tied into Windows.

    I'd say Valve wont be too worried as the GFW marketplace will only deal with games that are under that brand and steam will continue to cater to anything else outside it. If it really starts to hurt steam I wonder would we ever see Valve climb out of the Microsoft sandpit for once as in supporting other platforms like OSX ?