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Microsoft Merging GFW Marketplace and Xbox.com

By - Source: Games for Windows | B 17 comments
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Will Xbox.com become the central online source for all Microsoft-sanctioned games?

Friday the Games for Windows website officially announced that Microsoft's digital delivery store for PC games, GFW Marketplace, is merging with Xbox.com. Microsoft doesn't offer up any additional details, only stating that "now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place." The reaction to the merge is curiously calm over on the Xbox.com forum, with many commenters hoping that the merge means more cross-platform compatibility in the future.

Microsoft has been on shaky ground in promoting and selling PC games in contrast to its highly lucrative Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE service. Originally the Games For Windows LIVE PC client paled in comparison to what the console owners experienced, offering a small library of digital-only PC games, demos, downloadable content and game videos. Microsoft revamped the PC client and the online store in October 2010, both of which now carries a larger selection of games.

There's a good chance that Microsoft plans to incorporate the Games for Windows Marketplace and the Windows Phone 7 Apps / Zune Marketplace online shops into Xbox.com so that end-users will have a one-stop shopping experience. This should also help sell cross-platform games that allow Microsoft customers to play each other via an Xbox 360 console, a Windows Phone 7 device and a Windows 7 PC. That said, the future of the PC client is uncertain save for the mini-client that's needed for multiplayer and in-game micro-transactions within Games for Windows titles.

A few weeks ago, Microsoft's Shirlene Lim revealed the new Games Hub for Windows Phone 7.1 "Mango". The revamped hub features a cleaner and lighter design, improved performance and speed. "Finally, the Games Hub in Mango now comes with many of the features previously found in the popular Xbox LIVE Extras app, such as 3D avatars with fun animations, a new Collection view, and more," Lim said.

It's not hard to imagine that Microsoft may unveil a consolidated service with the release of Mango. Will this spell the end of Microsoft's GFW brand? There's nothing but speculation to report that this point, but the comment reading "now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place" indicates that Xbox.com may actually play host to every downloadable PC, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 games the Redmond company green-lights for those platforms.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    alidan , July 2, 2011 12:38 AM
    final nail in GFW live coffin.
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    alidan , July 2, 2011 12:38 AM
    final nail in GFW live coffin.
  • 1 Hide
    drwho1 , July 2, 2011 12:53 AM
    I never even heard of "GFW" and I don't care about Xbox....
    this means nothing to me since I do my gaming.... somewhere else.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    reggieray , July 2, 2011 1:04 AM
    alidanfinal nail in GFW live coffin.

    Good, GFWL is the biggest piece of crap and was really the only thing wrong with Fallout3. Luckily there was a easy work around to not need to even use GFWL on Fallout3.
  • 5 Hide
    agnickolov , July 2, 2011 1:10 AM
    GFW never became relevant anyway. I doubt any real competition for Steam would arise from this move...
  • 3 Hide
    Kohlhagen , July 2, 2011 1:50 AM
    Long live teh steam'
  • 2 Hide
    jhansonxi , July 2, 2011 5:12 AM
    A chain-of-command change soon to be followed by a reduction of redundant personnel.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 2, 2011 6:07 AM
    Microsoft need to give a bonus to whoever though of this idea. I never made a GFWL account since I already have Steam and only made a Xbox.com account.

    Now if only there is a reason for me to buy PC games on Xbox.com instead of Steam. Maybe an extreme summer sale + xbox points for "x" amount of money spent?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 2, 2011 1:46 PM
    The reason for this probably has something to do with the upcoming Windows8 tablets and Wp8 being tightly integrated....
  • 2 Hide
    lee3821 , July 2, 2011 3:33 PM
    What I'm hoping is that this perhaps means is a consolidation of the Xbox brand. Games for Windows Live was never much good, as Microsoft has clearly shown that it does not want to invest much in it, as it does not have a guaranteed return like the Xbox does in platform fees.

    *Straps on tinfoil hat*

    If Microsoft were to consolidate the Xbox brand, one possible ramification would be cross-platform multiplayer. The problem with allowing the PC to compete against consoles is that you're matching an extremely customizable platform against a very limited, locked-down version of the above. Consoles really don't have any advantages over PC's, and thus it would be really unfair to match those with the proprietary Xbox/PS3 handicaps against those without them.

    Until console OS's become true OS's, allowing for hardware customization and variety(in both input and output), there will never be widespread crossplatform multiplayer.

    Honestly, in my opinion that would be the best option for Microsoft/Sony. Simply (when doing the next generation of consoles) write the PlayStation 4& Xbox 720 OS's so that they can run on most hardware. They could still sell the hardware by itself, and most people would probably buy it, if it was even slightly competitive. (Based off their track record...the 360 and PS3 were relatively modern hardware when they were originally released.)

    Offer the operating system as a separate product that one could purchase and run on your PC. I would envision dual-booting or something akin to it. (Microsoft would have the edge on this, of course, as it owns Windows) If you want to game, simply restart into Xbox mode(for example). That would allow Microsoft/Sony to still collect their royalties on games. I'm sure that hardware vendors would love to jump on board. Say, if you have a PS4 which has an ATI Radeon HD 7850...I bet AMD or NVIDIA would love to sell you a graphics upgrade, and would do all the hard work making the drivers and etc. for the sales. Microsoft/Sony could easily implement automatic driver installations for supported hardware, and etc, allowing for the "just works" feel, and if you wanted to do something unsupported, you could switch into advanced mode or something.

    It would be amazing if this happened, because as great as Windows is, it really isn't designed for gaming. The two main reasons that people game on the PC (imo) are that it uses already existing hardware, so you can game on your PC and then go and set up a spreadsheet without needing two different machines, and the customization it allows. You can use a controller or a mouse and keyboard, and for many games the latter is superior as far as accuracy and speed, so the former isn't super common on that platform. When I get tired, it's great to switch to my 360 controller and play from the couch. You can also put any kind of hardware you want inside your PC, whether you're rocking a entry-level HD 4670 or a pair of GTX 570s. (I personally love my Eyefinity, and you can't do that with an Xbox or PS3.)

    I very much doubt that consolidation under the Xbox brand means that Microsoft is likely to do something like my suggestion, but we can always hope...
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 2, 2011 3:33 PM
    microsoft did an absolutely TERRIBLE job pushing gfwl... hell they tried to revamp it multiple times, but it always seemed like after they revamped it, they stopped caring

    and EA's origin seems to have more traction right now then gfwl. i don't know about you, but i def feel the lack of EA sales on STEAM. i think it's a cold stupid move, and i will not be forced into using origin. hell, it took me a while to get accustomed to STEAM, but the return has been great... i have probably around 40 games, and i haven't spent more than $300... now THAT is money saved
  • 1 Hide
    lee3821 , July 2, 2011 3:38 PM
    Quote:
    microsoft did an absolutely TERRIBLE job pushing gfwl... hell they tried to revamp it multiple times, but it always seemed like after they revamped it, they stopped caring

    and EA's origin seems to have more traction right now then gfwl. i don't know about you, but i def feel the lack of EA sales on STEAM. i think it's a cold stupid move, and i will not be forced into using origin. hell, it took me a while to get accustomed to STEAM, but the return has been great... i have probably around 40 games, and i haven't spent more than $300... now THAT is money saved


    Steam is amazing...
    Microsoft of late seems to be unwilling to surrender the market (GFWL revamp), but unwilling to invest the kind of money required to be a serious competitor.
  • 0 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , July 2, 2011 4:05 PM
    The only thing I liked about GFW was the fact that any game with the label is "supposed" to work with the XBOX 360 controller. Thats great, but I hate the fact that a lot of games don't allow for dedicated servers now. And, yeah, I think all games should go cross platform, but ported from the pc. I am kinda worried about the merger of the two clients, does this mean that all games are gonna be ports in the future? Is microsoft gonna charge for using xbox live service for pc games? Am I gonna be forced to play games with a bunch of trucker mouth swearing kids? What does this mean for pc gaming? Kinda worried about this, not that it's a big deal right now, but how is this gonna affect things in say 5 years from now. I really feel big companies are trying to push consoles so bad that they are totally ignoring pc gamers. Personally I think microsoft should work with steam and came up with a standalone gaming O.S. for the pc. Of course it could be a dual boot, but I think a gamers O.S. would solve a lot of problems on the pc. Enhanced compatibility, the o.s. could be updated, and cheap, and it would keep all the developers focus's on a single program and download store instead of all these different game service's popping up forcing you to have 15 different clients on your pc. Just an idea, of course it would be preferable to not be on a separate network so that pc gamers can still run dedicated servers. It should be based off of windows core, but be designed with gamers in mind.


    Sorry, short rant..
  • 1 Hide
    koga73 , July 4, 2011 5:06 AM
    steam++
    never used gfwl... but regardless I don't like the idea. If I were to use gfwl I wouldn't want to have to have an xbox live account. I don't own an xbox nor do I want to. This merges the pc sector with the console sector for microsoft and the last thing I want as a PC gamer is to have to follow console rules and need an xbox live membership etc etc etc. fail.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 4, 2011 12:12 PM
    koga73the last thing I want as a PC gamer is to have to follow console rules and need an xbox live membership etc etc etc. fail.

    Having an Xbox live membership is no different than having a Steam account, with both you have a username and login, there are lots of things Steam has that is different but seeing as Steam lets you do all the social stuff that consoles do with achievments, chat, gamertags, friends, etc exactly what console rules do you mean?

    Steam has advantage over GFWL, Direct2Drive, Onlive, Origin and everyone else with a simple fact - size.

    With it's vast library over all studios it has the majority of the market and with this it has something else, financial muscle, in the form of regularly discounted games. I personally picked up an iD pack in the form of every Doom game ever made for the sum total of £8 ($12) and if you browse around there are equally good deals every day, every week.

    Microsoft can't be stupid with this and the unification is a step in the right direction as it knows it can't wrestle exclusivity back from studios already with Steam so what it can do is get the same studios, match the prices, have the same social functions and then it will have a level playing field with Steam.

    Then it needs to allow cross-platform gamers, Xbox vs PC across the board, then and only then will it have an advantage.

    But if it does, expect Steam to drop a nuke on Microsoft and partner with Sony to allow PS4 games and gamers to cross platform on Steam. maybe a bit far fetched, but it's like a nuclear arms race, escalation will always get messy and the one with the biggest bombs wins.
  • 1 Hide
    brandonjclark , July 5, 2011 2:44 PM
    If anyone even MENTIONS origin in this thread again they will be visited nightly by stinging wasps in their sleep, for life.

    Read EA's terms of use and let me know why they think they should be able to remove your game at any time, k?
  • 0 Hide
    nisallik , July 5, 2011 4:08 PM
    brandonjclarkIf anyone even MENTIONS origin in this thread again they will be visited nightly by stinging wasps in their sleep, for life.Read EA's terms of use and let me know why they think they should be able to remove your game at any time, k?


    If you would read Steam's terms of use, which I guess you didn't... it says the same exact thing. I will more than likely use Origin for SW:TOR (only place you can purchase it digitally), depending on what comes with it compared to the CE box.
  • 0 Hide
    fir_ser , July 5, 2011 11:12 PM
    I wonder what new features and improvements the 7.1 Mango update will bring to WP7.