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MSFT: Games for Windows LIVE Had Rocky Start

By - Source: CVG | B 19 comments

Games for Windows LIVE will get better according to Microsoft.

During an interview at Microsoft's spring showcase, Microsoft's senior producer of interactive entertainment business Kevin Unangst admitted that Games for Windows – LIVE had a rocky start. He blamed the service's original focus of serving as a partner to the console version rather than as a stand-alone service for the PC.

As it stands now, Xbox LIVE for the Xbox 360 console comprises of multiple components whereas the same components are broken up into several clients on the PC. As an example, users must download and install the Zune client to purchase music, movies and television shows. The games aspect is an entirely different client, offering strictly gaming content such as videos, demos, add-ons and full games. Xbox LIVE offers both in one solution while also adding services like Netflix, Facebook and more in the process.

But the biggest factor in the overall failure of Games for Windows – LIVE is the lack of fantastic titles. "The service started with the right intent, which was to bring Achievements, friends, multiplayer gaming and matchmaking in a really great way to PC," he said. "I think because it was designed originally as a partner to the console service more than the PC service, we had a rocky start. We also didn't back it up with the most important thing, which is doing fantastic games to take advantage of the service. A network by itself isn't valuable - there needs to be great games to take advantage."

Unangst said that the platform will evolve thanks to the input from developers like Lionhead and Gas Powered Games. In the interview, he referenced the way Microsoft and Bungie collaborated on Halo and what the Xbox LIVE service needed to make the shooter such a classic hit. Now he has the two studios laying down their requirements for the PC arm of LIVE, and the changes could mark an new direction for the service.

"The Age of Empire 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," he said. "I think the underpinnings are great, I think it's going to continue to get better. We're also seeing developers get back to development. Epic did a great job of promoting Live with Bulletstorm. They're pleased with the platform and the service is going to continue to get better over time."

He also noted the launch of the new Games for Windows – LIVE Marketplace which now sells both LIVE-enabled and non-LIVE PC games. The stand-alone client has also received an overhaul, sporting a better interface and a larger collection of titles. But there's no social element, no way to chat with friends who may be signed onto LIVE from another PC or Xbox 360 console – that's probably saved for the stand-alone Windows Live Messenger chat client.

Ultimately Windows-based users should have one client that combines LIVE with Zune, a one-stop desktop shop that offers movies, TV shows, music and games all in one place as seen with Xbox LIVE. Unfortunately, that may never happen.

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  • 3 Hide
    11796pcs , March 9, 2011 8:58 PM
    No sh*t sherlock. It doesn't help that half the people that use the service think it's terrible.
  • 2 Hide
    greatsaltedone , March 9, 2011 9:18 PM
    Ugh, any system where I have to buy points externally and use those to pick up software makes me so frustrated.

    Of course microsoft can't just interface with steam, no they have to reinvent the damned wheel and make a crappy service nobody wants to use but have to because they throw a massive amount of money at developers.

    It pisses me off and goes against every idea of what personal computing should be.
  • 2 Hide
    cletus_slackjawd , March 9, 2011 9:38 PM
    I highly doubt that Microsoft will ever be able to compete with the steam service. They would have to pull off some kind of miracle and then I still don't see it. There only possible hope would be to copy it exactly or just buy them outright.
  • -1 Hide
    dgriffs , March 9, 2011 9:51 PM
    Didn't microsoft charge for Gfw originally like xbox live gold? Why would pc gamers spend money when there are free, superior alternatives out there?

    It would be nice if there was cross platform pc/xbox gaming. I know the pc gamers are always better and have an advantage but absolutely none of my friends are pc gamers. They all have xboxs.
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , March 9, 2011 9:58 PM
    I was not even aware it had launched. I suppose that counts as a rocky start.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 9, 2011 10:32 PM
    11796pcsNo sh*t sherlock. It doesn't help that half the people that use the service think it's terrible.

    what does help is that they forcibly shove gfwl down our throats with some games that are distributed on STEAM.

    smh
  • -2 Hide
    alidan , March 9, 2011 10:41 PM
    if i can pirate a game, and it has the live experience ripped out of it, what do you think i will do?

    i may buy it, but that game disc will never touch my pc. i despise LIVE, xbox and windows, but i accept that there is nothing i can do but not support it in any way shape or form.
  • 1 Hide
    Benihana , March 9, 2011 10:52 PM
    cletus_slackjawdI highly doubt that Microsoft will ever be able to compete with the steam service. They would have to pull off some kind of miracle and then I still don't see it. There only possible hope would be to copy it exactly or just buy them outright.

    Microsoft does have a pretty big collective ass from which to pull stuff out of.

    Hopefully nothing successful comes out, because personally I like buying the permission to play a game for as long as I like, whenever I like, and without any additional fees or recurring subscription costs. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Anomalyx , March 9, 2011 11:00 PM
    Quote:
    Games for Windows LIVE will get better according to Microsoft.

    Pretty obvious statement to make, considering GFWL can't possibly get any worse. Perhaps they should concentrate on making it actually work... THEN put it in games.
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , March 10, 2011 2:27 AM
    Try releasing something newer than Gears of War and people may think it is cool.....

    Personally, Games for Windows ruined Halo 2 on my computer...it does not run properly on any of my Windows 7 systems.....Gears of War 2 works fine....wish I could say what GoW 2 or 3 looked like on a PC :(  Would have also loved to see Halo 3...ODST...Reach....MS shit on the PC gaming community and did not even try to apologize

    If they are interested in Gfw it is for one reason, they still think they can make money off it. They do not give 2 shits about the user experience except for making it easy to insert credit card information
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , March 10, 2011 2:27 AM
    Meant Gears of War works fine....obviously GoW 2 never made it to PC for some reason
  • 1 Hide
    randomizer , March 10, 2011 7:12 AM
    It had a rocky start because the only thing it was good at was doubling the time to actually start playing a game, thanks to the required login.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , March 10, 2011 8:12 AM
    randomizerIt had a rocky start because the only thing it was good at was doubling the time to actually start playing a game, thanks to the required login.

    Hahaha. True, and makes it dependent on other than your hardware.
    alidanif i can pirate a game, and it has the live experience ripped out of it, what do you think i will do?i may buy it, but that game disc will never touch my pc. i despise LIVE, xbox and windows, but i accept that there is nothing i can do but not support it in any way shape or form.

    Well said. Thank you.

    Also,
    "The service started with the right intent, which was to bring Achievements, friends, multiplayer gaming and matchmaking in a really great way to PC,"

    I read here tapping into the addictive properties of this system so artificially inflate the perception of entertainment instead of making some game people actually look forward to play and forget the rest.
    Try making GFWL optional and see how many actually opt in. Their justification might be building a friends base, so you have other people to compare with and get addicted more. I will go for the least trouble version, the least dependencies, and the least information of mine getting out via a service that is not the game itself.
    By version I mean between pirated game without GFWL or even skipping the game altogether.
  • 0 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , March 10, 2011 11:46 AM
    Steam FTW !
  • 0 Hide
    gmarsack , March 10, 2011 12:43 PM
    I hate GFW... worst idea ever... :(  Steam all the way, hardcore_gamer!
  • 0 Hide
    jgiron , March 10, 2011 1:33 PM
    Games for Windows = fail
    they ignored the pc community and went straight for console support. Which made them a ton of money but they lost ground (big time) to Steam. I have no reason to leave steam, great service, great games and very, very great sales.
    Now if MS would make a true cross platform game and really promoted it like they did with Halo (and it is not a cheap port) and required a Win Live account...then perhaps they can start 'stealing' customers away from other services.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 10, 2011 2:52 PM
    Quote:
    "The service started with the right intent, which was to bring Achievements, friends, multiplayer gaming and matchmaking in a really great way to PC," he said.


    Am I the only one who doesn't give a sh*t about achievements, ranking, and the rest of that crap? This is the same reason I haven't bought Starcraft II yet. They want to force you to use Battle.Net to make sure your ranking is fair (and if you cheat, they ban you). Personally, I don't give a damn about how well I play the game compared to a bunch of Nerds who have nothing better to do than play video games all day long. I didn't even care when I was in college and WAS one of those nerds.

    I use steam because all my games (or most anyway) are in one place, and they move automatically with my account. No scrounging for CD keys and whatnot. As for the pointless achievements that come with most Steam games, I really don't care. Just make the game enjoyable and easy to load-up and play.

    And on that topic, whatever happened to GameSpy and other similar services? Wasn't the whole point of those services (in the late 90's early 2000's) to create the very types of communities that GFWL, Battle.Net (and to some extent, Steam) are now re-creating?
  • 0 Hide
    reprotected , March 10, 2011 5:32 PM
    IF GFW integrates onto Windows, then I will be super disappointed. It's like how IE is integrated into Windows. It's crap and insecure.
  • 0 Hide
    jlefebre6001 , March 10, 2011 6:41 PM
    hellwigAm I the only one who doesn't give a sh*t about achievements, ranking, and the rest of that crap? This is the same reason I haven't bought Starcraft II yet. They want to force you to use Battle.Net to make sure your ranking is fair (and if you cheat, they ban you). Personally, I don't give a damn about how well I play the game compared to a bunch of Nerds who have nothing better to do than play video games all day long. I didn't even care when I was in college and WAS one of those nerds.I use steam because all my games (or most anyway) are in one place, and they move automatically with my account. No scrounging for CD keys and whatnot. As for the pointless achievements that come with most Steam games, I really don't care. Just make the game enjoyable and easy to load-up and play.And on that topic, whatever happened to GameSpy and other similar services? Wasn't the whole point of those services (in the late 90's early 2000's) to create the very types of communities that GFWL, Battle.Net (and to some extent, Steam) are now re-creating?


    If you don't give a shit about rankings and achievements then don't login. play in offline mode. i think you're just nerd raging because you think if you hack you'll get caught.