Windows 7 improved Games Explorer, Internet games

By on February 23, 2009, 11:02 AM
Get used to it. Many of the features and OS additions that debuted in Vista are returning to Windows 7, with the little difference that this time Microsoft has taken the time to pay more attention to detail and improve actual usage through those features. In all fairness it's easier said than done when you have a more established platform to work with, just like Apple has been able to tweak and optimize their OS X platform for many years now.

The Windows Blog team recently disclosed some of their planned improvements for Windows 7's Games Explorer. While on Vista this merely acted as a container for your installed games with some eye candy here and there, in the new OS (including the recent beta) there will be more functionality added. For every new game you install, a game provider icon will appear that will give you one-click access to more information from the publisher, and news about other releases on the window's right pane. If done properly, by adding information gamers would actually be interested in, this may work a lot like the Xbox's Live promotional content or Valve's Steam client.

Perhaps an even better feature will be information on games patches and updates using the same right pane when clicking on a game's shortcut. This will need third-party publisher full support to work as well, but what Microsoft is planning sounds great, making game updating a one-click affair from the Games Explorer window.

Windows 7 will also ship (including the current beta) with three new online games: Backgammon, Checkers and Spades. And just like Vista's built-in games, these have received a graphics revamp with a scaling UI.

User Comments: 3

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yukka said:
Thats a good feature - its a shame it cant be released as part of sp2 for vista. I like the idea of seeing up to date patch information and game news in the explorer.
darkwarrior42 said:
It seems like a typical feature to me; adding functionality that we already have. It could be very mildly convenient to allow windows to update games... but then, I don't see much of a difference between opening a shell program and clicking one button there, or just selecting an option from the start menu. Most games you play online update themselves automatically when you connect in the first place, and most games I play offline don't have a critical need to be updated in the first place, by and large. Of course, I'm not a fan of Vista in the first place. The vast majority of "features" seem like a waste of resources for no appreciable or worthwhile gain in my view (using computer resources every second to watch every single action you take, so that a 30 second search only takes 5 seconds?)Edit: I also am not a fan of Valve's Steam client; most people are connected to the internet constantly these days, but I dislike the idea of being required to be connected to the internet to play a single player offline game of any sort.
yukka said:
I disliked steam when it was first released but since i got a much faster computer that doesnt find it an issue, i have purchased quite a catalogue on it and added non steam games into the ui so i have a central place to use my games.What annoys me a little is getting a game like battlefield 2 and installing it to then try to find which patch is the newest. Often the official sites dont have information about the latest patch prefering instead to flex their flash skills with a full screen advert of the game and little else. It is left to community sites to show such information which can be sometimes hard to find and until the patch is installed and you actually get to join a game, you cant be sure that you have the most up to date one.If installing games into Windows 7 prompted a download and information about the latest required patch and any troubleshooting issues/requirements based on the hardware and device drivers that i had installed,i would welcome it.
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