Report: Microsoft to shut down Games for Windows Live July 1st, 2014

Just a few days after Microsoft announced that the Games For Windows Live online marketplace would close its doors on August 22nd comes a report that claims the entire service will be shut down on July 1st, 2014. If true, it would be the final nail in the coffin for one of Microsoft's biggest missteps in the PC gaming industry.

Polygon reports that the following statement was posted on the Age of Empires Online support pages earlier today, but has since been removed:

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. 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.

We have emailed Microsoft to confirm the content of the deleted support message. If true, it would end the service which launched in 2007. GFWL was suppose to give first and third party PC games access to online multiplayer features, leaderboards and achievements similar to Xbox 360 games. However, the service suffered from bugs and poor technical support, along with a misguided attempt to charge for access to multiplayer features that was later changed to allow for free access.

Despite efforts by Microsoft to improve the service over the years, most PC game publishers quickly abandoned GFWL for Valve's rival Steamworks tools. Even Microsoft has published PC games in the past year that use Steamworks instead of GFWL.

Source: Polygon | Image via Microsoft

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20 Comments

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PC game that have been published in the past will must likely be get re-published with a patch or to use Steamworks instead of GFWL which all ready happing with Bioshock 2.
The game has start internal updates. You can check it http://steamdb.info/app/8850/#section_history
Also, it seems that Minerva's Den DLC will be available on Steam http://steamdb.info/sub/29192/#section_info
Let hope we see all the other DLC listed above as well
The Protector Trials
Kill 'em Kindly
Rapture Metro
Sinclair Solutions Tester Pack
Zigo and Blanche
Or may they move Bioshock 2 over to Game of the Year Edition.

Rule #1 - Never buy anything with copy protection from MS cause they have zero ability to stick with anything. I hope someone in the EU sues, this is crap EULA or not. Though again it highlights the problems with going digital.

I hope everyone looking at the X-ONE remembers this and their 'no media' push.

Not the least bit surprised by this. Once Windows 8 released, it was only a question of "when" they would shut down GFWL.

GFWL never had a lot going for it, which is unfortunate since it wasn't as horrible as some labeled it. I do hope they patch the most popular games still being played to remove the GFWL dependencies.

Sad to see this go, even if it was inevitable.

I've been waiting for this day for years. This is the best article Neowin has ever posted. I love you Neowin (For today *ONLY*)

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Im surprised there havent been more legal cases regarding games that stop working after their DRM servers have been shutdown, especially here in the UK where we have plenty of consumer protection laws. What we're looking at here is a product that has an artificially engineered expiration date, which Im fairly sure is illegal particularly if the product in question does not clearly state that it will stop working after an undetermined period of time.

You ever read that EULA that comes with every game? Or considered what would happen if Steam went out of business?

I doubt they'll just drop support for all of these games, they'll probably just patch it out, which is for the best.

Ughhh they surely will release a patch. I still need to play Batman Arkham Asylum & City since I bought them on steam... and require GFWL.
And yeah, Bioshock 2

I dont even............. what the hell is microsoft doing? first xbone,then this??

they will have to release patches( which would be like liveless.dll) to make the games run. and save. but unable to play mp.


Edited by dsbig, Aug 20 2013, 4:08am :

This is going to be one of the HUGE problems facing gaming in the coming years - online integration services shutting down, leaving games, even single player, unplayable. Why the hell do I need to install and connect to UPlay to play Anno?

Hmm... Assuming this is actually true, Microsoft had better have given developers a lot more warning than this. As I recall, games like the Grand Theft Auto 4 expansions, Bulletstorm, and probably every other game that require the Games for Windows Live client also required a connection at least once per-install to the service for serialization/activation.

It's been awhile since I've played any game that require the service, so I may be incorrect...

Edited by ITFiend, Aug 20 2013, 3:14am :

Does that mean GTA 4 and the Episodes will stop working? I won't be impressed if it does. Its still a blast to play online.

I'd be interested to hear how many of the games are going to work after the shutdown date actually. I own a few, and from what I can tell, this decision will render them useless.

While I actually did this with AOE:O, that was a free install and after running it, still requires me to login to GFWL.

Hopefully though, they will allow games to be added to Steam (or have their online authentication removed entirely).