Microsoft Says It’s Not Killing Games for Windows Live
Reports of Games For Windows Live’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Despite Windows’ Xbox.com PC Marketplace being shuttered last summer, reports suggesting GFWL was due to close at the end of the month and the mass exodus of games from the GFWL platform, Microsoft says that they have no plans to close Games For Windows Live.
Rumours of GFWL’s demise started coming up last summer right before the Xbox.com PC Marketplace closed. The Age of Empires Online support page included a statement that GFWL would close on July 1st, 2014. In the months since, a number of high-profile games have switched off GFWL to Steamworks. These include the Batman: Arkham series, BioShock 2, Dirt 3, Super Street Fighter IV and more.
After Microsoft-owned developer Twisted Pixel moved one of their games from GFWL to Steamworks, Microsoft finally commented about the status of Games for Windows Live. In a statement that was essentially made at the 11th hour, Microsoft told Game Informer:
We are continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service. As previously announced, as part of the retirement of Microsoft Points the Xbox.com PC marketplace was closed. Although customers are unable to purchase new games from the marketplace or receive title updates, they can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows Live client as usual. We remain committed to investing in PC gaming in the years ahead, and look forward to sharing more in the future.
While the closure of GameSpy services for a number of games was met with disappointment from gamers who would lose the online portion of GameSpy games that didn’t switch over, no one was heartbroken that GFWL would be shutting down, even if it meant losing multiplayer for Grand Theft Auto IV, Darks Souls and more.
That’s because the GFWL client was considered so poorly by gamers that they would be almost as well off if the online services disappeared as they would be if GFWL was still active. GFWL’s run was fraught with technical issues that made playing games difficult at the best of times. While Microsoft says, in the above statement and in comments by Xbox division boss Phil Spencer, that they are committed to the PC gaming ecosystem. While nothing specific has been noted, major changes have been made on the Xbox side of gaming under Spencer’s watch. I don’t have any reason to doubt he has something up his sleeve for PC.