Microsoft: Still no plans to ditch Games For Windows Live

Back in September, Microsoft announced at its Build conference that Windows 8 would incorporate its Xbox Live online gaming service into the PC OS. This has naturally lead many people to believe that the Games For Windows Live service might be discontinued in favor of Xbox Live.

Since the launch of the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8, Microsoft has released a number of Metro-based PC gaming apps, including this week's release of Hydro Thunder Hurricane. With that in mind, we decided to contact Microsoft to find out if they were indeed planning to discontinue Games For Windows Live in favor of Xbox Live for PC gamers.

The response from Microsoft is posted here in full:

Answer is no, Microsoft continues to support the Games for Windows platform, but we are making new investments in Metro style games. For the core PC gamer we launched “Age of Empires Online” last year and “Microsoft Flight” on February 29.

When it comes to the living room, Xbox 360 was the number one selling connected TV device in 2011 and we have 40 million Xbox LIVE members. We are committed to delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences across devices in a uniquely connected way.  Xbox LIVE on Windows 8 is a milestone in that journey. With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you’ll get a taste of some of the features we’re bringing with Xbox on Windows, but we’ll have more to share later this year as we get closer to launch.

So for the moment, it sounds like Games For Windows Live still has some life left in it even as Xbox Live will begin to enter into PC user's lives with the launch of Windows 8, which is expected sometime this fall.

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I like GFWL as well. But as others have said, it's not streamlined enough. What they could do is create some sort of API for game publishers to integrate their own achievement systems like they do now, but have those achievements unlock the respective achievements on Live. This way no client would be needed. They also need to make restoring save games easier. While I've never had an issue, plenty of people have.

What MS needs to do is improve GFWL. It's not streamlined enough like it is on the consoles. That said, I still prefer my games to come with it.

I believe they will support GFWL for older versions of Windows only since they don't have XBox integration like Windows 8 has.

I've never liked GFWL, not because it's intrusive, it's not. For the rare game that requires it, it's another program that's needing me to long into when I already have Steam or Origin happily running.

Microsoft should of dropped GFWL and let Steam be the gaming platform provider and offered integration with Windows 8.

Last I read, Origin is still taking whatever data it wants and sending it back to EA, which is why I wouldn't want Microsoft to offer any form of integration. EA, get your mittens off my porn sites.

watchthisspace said,
I've never liked GFWL, not because it's intrusive, it's not. For the rare game that requires it, it's another program that's needing me to long into when I already have Steam or Origin happily running.

Microsoft should of dropped GFWL and let Steam be the gaming platform provider and offered integration with Windows 8.

Last I read, Origin is still taking whatever data it wants and sending it back to EA, which is why I wouldn't want Microsoft to offer any form of integration. EA, get your mittens off my porn sites.

Why fold up and let Steam have the whole PC platform? That makes no real business sense, specially now that MS has a solid gaming/entertainment brand with Xbox.

Keeping GfWL around for a bit makes sense, till the OS intergrated Xbox Live in Windows 8 spreads, then, at least the way I see it, you don't have to login to anything, your Windows 8 account (if it's an online one and not local) IS your Xbox Live account. Just by logging into the OS you're already logged into Xbox Live. Also since the APIs are OS level we're not looking at yet another middleware app sitting in the background between your game and the internet, now the OS will handle things. If anything this type of setup should be better for PC gamers who want to get as much performance out of their gaming as they can get.

GP007 said,

Why fold up and let Steam have the whole PC platform? That makes no real business sense, specially now that MS has a solid gaming/entertainment brand with Xbox.

Keeping GfWL around for a bit makes sense, till the OS intergrated Xbox Live in Windows 8 spreads, then, at least the way I see it, you don't have to login to anything, your Windows 8 account (if it's an online one and not local) IS your Xbox Live account. Just by logging into the OS you're already logged into Xbox Live. Also since the APIs are OS level we're not looking at yet another middleware app sitting in the background between your game and the internet, now the OS will handle things. If anything this type of setup should be better for PC gamers who want to get as much performance out of their gaming as they can get.

If the GFWL/Xbox Live can pull the games you have under Steam, Origon and I think Pulse? So all the game you have, and information about them can be in the one centralised app. I'll be happy.

I do understand where you're coming from, but for me, GFWL is another program that I have to login to in order to play a game and there's a **** poor amount of titles that support GFWL. I'm surprised Microsoft didn't release Halo 3 or anything to boost its support. Steam has 99.98% of the games I play, Origin 00.01% and GFWL, 00.01%.

GP007 said,
...
Also since the APIs are OS level we're not looking at yet another middleware app sitting in the background between your game and the internet, now the OS will handle things. If anything this type of setup should be better for PC gamers who want to get as much performance out of their gaming as they can get.

The only difference is that updates would probably be slightly less annoying, just putting the code into the OS doesn't make the "cost" of the code go away, it still has to hook DirectX, track achievements, etc.

The main problem with GfWL is that Microsoft doesn't care about it, it's clunky and buggy, and the issues haven't been fixed (I can't even log in through it, I have to add my Live account manually to my user account before it will even sign in, etc.)

The_Decryptor said,

The only difference is that updates would probably be slightly less annoying, just putting the code into the OS doesn't make the "cost" of the code go away, it still has to hook DirectX, track achievements, etc.

The main problem with GfWL is that Microsoft doesn't care about it, it's clunky and buggy, and the issues haven't been fixed (I can't even log in through it, I have to add my Live account manually to my user account before it will even sign in, etc.)

Sure the cost doesn't go away but the problems you bring up with GfWL wouldn't be there. It shouldn't be clunky or buggy because we're not really talking about an app that sits to the side and watches the games you play. Not to the same extent anyways. I expect it will be much the same experience as one gets on the Xbox 360 today, and to that effect the way the 360's OS handles things matches well with what Windows 8 should do to.

GfWL is clunky due to how it's designed and written, not because it's a separate application (which it still would be even if it was moved into the OS, etc.)

Edit: I actually think Live on the Xbox is pretty meh too, signs you in and out way too often and has issues with updates like the desktop version.