In addition to shutting down the Marketplace on Xbox.com and within the PC client, it appears that Microsoft has plans to shut down the Games for Windows LIVE platform itself. Currently, the company has not commented on the reported closing, but did provide the time of death on the Age of Empires Online support page which has since been edited to remove the closure date.
The news arrives after Warner Bros. confirmed that Batman: Arkham Origins will not use Games for Windows LIVE, but Steamworks instead for achievements and multiplayer support. There was no multiplayer in the first two installments, but they did use Games for Windows LIVE to track achievements. Capcom is also supposedly dropping Games for Windows LIVE for Ultra Street Fighter IV in favor of Steamworks after using Microsoft's platform in previous PC games like Super Street Fighter IV, Dead Rising 2, Resident Evil 5 and more.
IGN points out that Microsoft has not made any significant updates to the Games for Windows LIVE platform since Barack Obama took his position in the Oval Office back in 2008. As it stands now, only a handful of recent PC games have used the platform including Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, Iron Brigade, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, and Ms. Splosion Man. The list of series that have dropped Games for Windows LIVE support include BioShock, Fallout, Red Faction and more.
According to the previous Age of Empires Online support page, Games for Windows LIVE will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. "Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service," the company previously stated. "You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down."
With the statement now offline and Microsoft shutting down the platform's Marketplace, there seems to be no question that the company plans to take the service offline. The company even stated in a recent FAQ that it will no longer sell Games for Windows LIVE titles published by Microsoft from any marketplace. For other titles, Microsoft directs gamers to the third-party publishers. In-game purchases and other downloadable content purchase availability will vary based on the particular game.
Polygon contacted Capcom to find out what a Games for Windows LIVE closing will mean to current PC games that support the Microsoft platform. "We do not have details to share yet," the rep said.