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Games for Windows Live ending July 2014 – report

Monday, 19th August 2013 23:37 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Although it withdrew the notice almost immediately, Microsoft reportedly today announced the long-anticipated demise of Games for Windows Live, its much-derided DRM and community features suite for PC games.

Polygon reports Microsoft posted and then withdrew this statement on the Xbox Support website for Age of Empires online today:

“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.”

Although many Master Race members are probably turning backflips, it’s not all good news, unfortunately; in addition to the apparent closure of Age of Empires Online, there’s no word on how the service closure will affect first- and third-party games which rely on it for activation – or online features like multiplayer. While some, like Batman: Arkham City, will likely go activation-free or switch to another service via an update, others, like Fable 3, are so raddled with GFWL features that the possibility of patching it out seems near impossible.

The Games for Windows Marketplace is closing next month, and Microsoft may be preparing to launch a successor; it’s managed to woo former Steam champion Jason Holtman to its side.

Throughout its lifespan, Games for Windows Live has never managed to win over gamers the way Steam has; of all Valve’s rivals, including the oft-criticised Uplay and Origin, it is far and away the most derided.

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22 Comments

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  1. Hunam

    This could break some older games really. As well as ruin Dark Souls for PC players.

    Even when it dies GFWL is still a massive cunt.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    Hopefully MIcrosoft will at least release a ‘removal’ tool to gut the DRM from games which have it, rather than simply rendering them non-functional. I can’t imagine that a whole lot of goodwill will be generated towards their obviously upcoming new storefront if they just leave older games to die. That won’t leave people feeling very confident.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. DSB

    I could see Microsoft doing something incredibly stupid like launching their own (THIS TIME IT’S FOR REAL, GUYS, HONEST!) Steamalike.

    GFWL was just absolutely godawful from the start. I’m really not surprised that games will be left totally ruined – Quite a few were pretty much already there as soon as they integrated it.

    It was really sad to see great developers wanting to bring their games over to PC, but ending up realizing that they could never deliver a full product with GFWL in there.

    Some companies just want to watch the world burn.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. lordbyro

    I’m agree with TheWulf when he says “Hopefully MIcrosoft will at least release a ‘removal’ tool to gut the DRM from games which have it, rather than simply rendering them non-functional”.

    I’ve just Fable III. It’s not nice to know my game will be non-functional because MS has a stupid idea. “Live PS4″ and I’ll be avenged.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. lubu

    there are a lot GFWL remover on the net so don’t worry. i bought GTA IV then i downloaded the crack named GFWL remover and without GFWL i can play

    #5 11 months ago
  6. illuminatusv

    What is happening with Dark Souls PC then?

    #6 11 months ago
  7. jedieagle

    I have 13 GFWL games. I am not that worried about the steam version (except maybe Dark Souls since they used it to quickly port the game), but I have retail versions of:

    Gears of War
    Halo 2
    Bioshock 2 (+ Minerva’s Den bought on marketplace)
    Batman: Arkham City (though I bought GOTY edition for Steam, so I have two copies)

    Will these games still be playable? Are they going to make me rebuy them? What about smaller titles, like Iron Brigade? Last time I heard, MS was giving Double Fine a hardtime, when they wanted to redo the game with Steamworks instead of GFWL?

    #7 11 months ago
  8. mistermogul

    This typifies modern Microsoft for me under leadership of Ballmer – a thriving PC market in which MS fails hard.

    At least their Xbox team are working hard to make amends for their previous policy failures…

    #8 11 months ago
  9. dizzygear

    @7 Bioshock 2 has Steam achievements now my guess is that they already removed GFWL from it. I dont have it installed though so i cant confirm it for sure.

    GFWL… Well it could have been great *IF* ms properly supported it. I kinda liked how it shared stats with XBL for example.
    But is was bloody ridiculous that even in Windows 8 i had to install and manually update it because GFWL’s selfupdater never ever worked.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. deadstoned

    Hopefully the best of the older titles like the Batman series will be retroactively switched to Steamworks. This is why these publishers never should have trusted Microsoft with their service.

    In regards to a “successor” I hope not. Who would want it? Who would trust it? Microsoft has already shown that they can launch a service, not support it and let it rot for years before finally taking it out back and shooting it.

    I just hope Microsoft can continue to support Direct X 11, Desktop features in their OS’s not shitty metro ones and release older titles on Steam like Halo trilogy etc. Its easy money for them.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. backup

    i hope next new announcement from microsoft is about windows OS

    All Windows OS ending Sept 2013

    Sony killed MS win OS and GFWL truth hurts deal with it PC pirates

    #11 11 months ago
  12. aseddon130

    I’m rather disappointed with this, as i’m one of the four people who do enjoy to play PC games with achievements (and i mean proper achievements, not shitty steam achievements)

    Looks like i better get them games completed by next July. I gotta wonder if their online modes will get ruined now as some of them are deep with GFWL stuff implemented in them, like GTA IV.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. mongbatstar

    Backup, you are a weird little dude.

    I’m glad to see this go. It never benefited me and caused numerous annoyances. I’m worried what will happen to games that actually supported this, and seemingly Microsoft don’t care all that much about this.

    Suppose they had kept their Xbox DRM system, could another situation like this have happened with that in the future?

    #13 11 months ago
  14. Talkar

    ^Unfortunately i think games such as GTA IV and Dark Souls won’t have any working online functions after the shutdown. But you can thank the mindless whiners that just wanted GFWL to die, instead of thinking of the rest of the gaming community.. Microsofts biggest mistake lately, is as has been pointed out in an earlier article here, it is listening too much to its customers.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. aseddon130

    @14 it’s nice to see a non-biased opinion on the matter, bravo to you!

    It was a shame they never stuck by GFWL, it would have had potential and would have brought them parity (spelling?) with having Xbox on PCs, which was never a bad thing. Most PC gamers would scoff at the idea yet i bet 80% of them have an Xbox 360 controller wired up to their PCs, so they are most of the way there. Having party chat on GFWL and an improved layering of the system would have been better, but no … they didn’t update it since 2009 and basically squandered it.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. Talkar

    @15
    Well, i’ve never had case after case of problems with GFWL. I had one problem, a long time ago with a DLC for Fallout 3, but compared to the amount of problems i’ve had with Steam? GFWL isn’t even close to that amount.
    And yes, i do feel sorry for those people GFWL lock out because of where they are located, what i don’t get is why some people, who doesn’t have this problem so blatantly hate GFWL. I honestly think that those people just hate GFWL because it is the trend to hate on Microsoft, much like it is the trend to hate on EA. So far, none have even tried to convince me otherwise. The only bad thing i can see about GFWL is that it is DRM, and i pretty much despise most forms of DRM (the old system where you had to look up a specific word in a manual was awesome though! :D)

    #16 11 months ago
  17. deadstoned

    @14 & @15

    If GFWL was a success, was updated regularly and wasn’t a general pain in the butt it would have been fine. It would have stuck around and probably still be in use in AAA development now. But it wasn’t those things. It hadn’t received a proper update since 2009, It was still buggy, poorly developed and many of the ideas such as Start Game > Update Game > Restart Game > Update for GFWL/Game again > restart again *loop a couple more times* were completely flawed.

    If you want Xbox achievements, I think you should continue to get those from Xbox. PC players don’t need poor services forced on us because of some meaningless achievement number.

    The growing number of people have wanted it dead, because we all knew it was dead. No development, a laughable collection of community pages, no real sale, no real effort, no AAA game development from Microsoft. Its been obvious its been dead for years.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. jedieagle

    @9 yeah, but I have the retail version of Bioshock 2, not on Steam. Can you activate it on Steam? I’ll try tonight if I remember it.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. betonowy

    Requiescat in pace, motherfucker.

    @6 Dont worry, Dark Souls 2 is just around the corner ;p

    #19 11 months ago
  20. illuminatusv

    @19: I am not worried at all because I only have the 360 and the PS3 versions. But I know a lot of guys which bought the game for PC. Maybe a patch from FROM SOFTWARE will remove the GFWL DRM and restrictions.

    #20 11 months ago
  21. betonowy

    @20 Well, i got it on steam, and I sure hope it will be patched, so it will be still playable online, but on the other hand, long before GFWL goes offline we will play Dark Souls 2, and i think not that many players will stick with DS1.

    #21 11 months ago
  22. Christopher Jack

    GfWL was always a joke, a terrible joke.

    #22 11 months ago