Games for Windows Live store to close next week

It's fair to say that the Games for Windows Live service has won few fans over the years, with many gamers believing that Microsoft has treated it as a second-rate offering behind its more prominent Xbox Live service, especially now that Xbox has broken free of the console and onto PCs, tablets and phones. Despite the lack of affection, Games for Windows Live continues to soldier on, but there's a significant change coming just around the corner. 

Next week, on August 22, Microsoft will be closing the Games for Windows Live marketplace, which means that users of the service will no longer be able to purchase new games through it. Microsoft says that downloadable content and in-game purchases may still be available to buy, but will vary from game-to-game, and advises that you speak with each game's publisher for more info. 

Microsoft has published an FAQ page about the changes, which coincide with the upcoming retirement of Microsoft Points payments in favour of real-currency transactions. The company makes clear that these changes won't affect the Games for Windows Live service itself, which will continue to be available, while any games and content already purchased will also still be accessible via the Games for Windows Live client. 

Still, it seems likely that these are the first steps towards the eventual shuttering of the service, so for now, enjoy it while it lasts. 

Source: Xbox via Polygon

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The most important thing GFWL did was require honest system requirements. I'll always appreciate it for that. Otherwise, it had a lot of potential it never developed.

I do hope all the games on it become available on Steam. Gears of War, for instance.

Hah, where's that guy who mocked me for talking mess about Games for Windows Live? I don't want to be a jerk to him or anything, I just want to whisper "I told you so" in his ear...

Crisp said,
So... what happens to the games people bought?
You can still download from your purchase history. The online multiplayer portion will continue to function. It's just the main marketplace that is being shut down, so no new games afterwards.

It's a shame Microsoft never put any real effort in to Games For Windows Live, the Desktop app hardly did anything, you couldn't even message your contacts on, let alone voice chat.

I remember once i loaded up Tinker on Windows 7 just to i could have a quick chat with someone on Xbox Live.

Sadly even the Windows 8 Xbox Live integration is useless, you can sync achievements and compare leader boards in some games... that's about it.

Microsoft could have had something to rival Steam years ago, sadly they don't appear to have a clue when it comes to PC gaming these days.

InsaneNutter said,
It's a shame Microsoft never put any real effort in to Games For Windows Live, the Desktop app hardly did anything, you couldn't even message your contacts on, let alone voice chat.

I remember once i loaded up Tinker on Windows 7 just to i could have a quick chat with someone on Xbox Live.

Sadly even the Windows 8 Xbox Live integration is useless, you can sync achievements and compare leader boards in some games... that's about it.

Microsoft could have had something to rival Steam years ago, sadly they don't appear to have a clue when it comes to PC gaming these days.

Unfortunately its success was too closely tied to Vista, and with not enough users moving forward from XP. Developers only gave it lackluster support as XP didn't have the newer network/audio stack that the service initially depended to have seamless multiplayer support.

InsaneNutter said,
Sadly even the Windows 8 Xbox Live integration is useless, you can sync achievements and compare leader boards in some games... that's about it.

You can msg your XBL friends in the Games app now.

InsaneNutter said,
It's a shame Microsoft never put any real effort in to Games For Windows Live, the Desktop app hardly did anything, you couldn't even message your contacts on, let alone voice chat.

I remember once i loaded up Tinker on Windows 7 just to i could have a quick chat with someone on Xbox Live.

The fact they never integrated voice chatting into the client bothered me for years.

However, now that they own Skype and will be using it on Xbox One for game/party chats, I'm not bothered anymore. That kind of approach immediately allows a better solution since it is already cross-platform and is independent. We shouldn't have to rely a gaming app just to chat.

Going forward if I want to chat with friends on Live, I can be on my PC doing anything or even my phone.

Since Xbox is now MS' allround entertainment brand they should rebrand Games for Windows to Xbox for Windows and place the services within the Microsoft Store and the game (xbox) hub. It would be Gabe Newell's biggest fear come true.

Not that it would be too great of a threat to Sream but people with Windows 8 PCs will be looking for games in the store. Microsoft is already selling desktop apps in the Microsoft Store including a few games. They might as well expand it with another services they already have.

Ronnet said,
Since Xbox is now MS' allround entertainment brand they should rebrand Games for Windows to Xbox for Windows and place the services within the Microsoft Store and the game (xbox) hub. It would be Gabe Newell's biggest fear come true.

Not that it would be too great of a threat to Sream but people with Windows 8 PCs will be looking for games in the store. Microsoft is already selling desktop apps in the Microsoft Store including a few games. They might as well expand it with another services they already have.

that'd just confuse the heck out of the average person... they'd see xbox on xbox game packages and think it worked on their system also since it had the xbox name

It already is. Xbox games on Windows 8 are Xbox for Windows but indeed, all the games that used GfWL will need to be modified to integrate with that Store environment so that the GfWL client is no longer necessary.

Agreed.
Xbox for Windows is where it will go now and I do hope that the client is changed to fit more within the Windows 8 Store style.

Well, the Windows 8 Store is very fast for me here. Only on Windows Phone it isn't very fast, but that's because installations take a very long time (the latter half of the 100% download) on my phone.

Chugworth said,
I'm trying to picture the Metro store downloading a 20+GB game. I have a feeling it wouldn't go very well.

Why couldn't they compress the game files more? Besides, the store pushes out 8.1 OS updates that are 2.5-3.5GB depending on if it's x86 or x64. I think downloading a whole game shouldn't be a issue, specially if it's like the XB1 and you can start playing once you have downloaded enough of the game, then the rest just downloads in the background.

Also, the way Windows 8.x is now, all the XBL APIs needed for games are built into the OS iirc. There is no messy middle client running in the background like GfWL or Steam and so on.