Games for Windows Live Embraces Digital Distribution with Games on Demand

By Alice O'Connor, Dec 03, 2009 1:10pm PST Games for Windows Live will become a full-fledged distribution platform for full games from December 15 with the addition of 'Games on Demand', Microsoft has announced.

The Games for Windows Live store will accept either Microsoft Points or credit card as payment for its Games on Demand, which can be downloaded and installed "whenever you want, wherever you want." Currently the store sells only downloadable content.

"We didn't just want to create a cut-and-paste version of existing digital distribution services," said LIVE Engagement Services general manager Mike Ybarra in a press statement. "Our goal has always been to create a seamless online gaming experience for the Windows community, and Games on Demand is a great step toward that end."

The games lineup at launch will include Resident Evil 5, Red Faction: Guerrilla and Battlestations: Pacific, as well as GFWL-enabled editions of Osmos and World of Goo.

An updated version of Fuel Industries' robotic puzzler Tinker--previously released as an 'Extra' for Windows Vista Ultimate--will become a free GoD title to lure punters in.

Games on Demand made its debut on Xbox 360 in August with 24 games, a lineup which has been steadily expanded each week by titles both new and old.

"There's no question digital [distribution] will overtake physical," Xbox Europe marketing vice president David Gose said last year. Many PC digital distributors have reported significant growth--though exactly where they stand in relation to each other is disputed.

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21 Threads | 57 Comments

  • Ofcourse digital distribution will eventually snatch critical ground from the physical. But you that means having to utilize the digital format to favor the consumer, not doing this balance act where next-to-instant games can be purchased but usually (in Europe) costing easily three times as much as any of the games would do in stores.

    If digital distribution is to have Any impact you have to cut prices over the physical alternative and stand toe-to-toe with new releases and be able to deliver good deals. STEAM has some nice deals at times but those are mostly weekend deals on crappy games or in rare occassions some good games you'd already have - but apart from that STEAM pricing is ridicilous, where games like Modern Warfare 2 would cost the little European 59€ (88US$) on the PC, where the average physical price was below 45€. While a little older games like Company of Heroes could cost you 49€ on STEAM, but 7€ (!!) in stores.

    Microsoft has an oppurtunity to smack STEAM and EA Download and all those bastards on the fingers, but as it looks from the history with Xbox's Games on Demand it's just a filler service as they're too afraid to have the physical retailers giving them angry letters for evolving the market space. Distributing games online is virtually free, atleast once you have established a decent server cluster, but the physical games costs alot in both administration, production (in quanitities) and shipping and everthing in between - yet the physical is both more accessable and often incredibly much cheaper for the consumer... which is just depressing.

    I know, a shitload of text, but I just wanted to have it ventilated.