Games for Windows Live to compete with Steam, others

By on December 4, 2009, 2:14 PM
Microsoft has announced that Games for Windows Live will receive Games on Demand on December 15, essentially becoming a full-fledged game distribution platform. As implied by its name, Games on Demand will allow users to purchase and download titles from their PC.

While this concept is hardly new (think: Steam, D2D, Impulse), Microsoft said its offer won't just be a "cut-and-paste version of existing digital distribution services." Without citing any particular innovations, the company said it has worked to develop an integrated platform that "takes full advantage of the unique capabilities offered by the Live service."

Games on Demand will launch with various titles, including Resident Evil 5, Red Faction: Guerilla, and Battlestations: Pacific, as well as new exclusive Live-enabled versions of games like World of Goo, Osmos, and Tinker -- the latter of which will be free. Pay titles will be purchasable with either a credit card or Microsoft Points.

Where do you think Microsoft's game distribution platform will fit amongst the competition?

User Comments: 41

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Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Where will it fit?




TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I had to mess around with MS Windows Live in order to get DLC for Fallout 3. It was the most clunky, confusing and awkward client I've ever encountered.

They have some serious work on their hands if they believe they're even remotely going to compete with Steam, D2D and Impulse.

wcbert said:

I visited Steam almost everyday to play a game for hour or two. It the games the make the service and Mircosoft know this. I think they can hit a home run on this one

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In many ways i like the digital delivery (don't have to worry about backing up DVD's, can download on any computer i am on as long as i don't run at the same time, etc. . ). However there are many things that are just DRM crap like having to be connected to the internet to play anything, and what happens if someone sues Steam and takes it down? Where are my games then?

Docnoq said:

Unless Microsoft can start citing some new innovations, they are really in for a surprise if they think they are going to come in and be a player in this market. Personally, I don't want to juggle multiple services. I'll keep using Steam because it has been time-tested and proven to work. They also have killer deals all the time.

But hey, if this pressures Steam into giving even more killer deals, then bring it on Microsoft.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft might be able to pull some decent numbers... Provided the fix a few things, that is. I had the same nightmare with Fallout 3 as TomSEA, was thoroughly disgusted when compared to DLC experiences from Steam.

Oh, and the Live gaming interface had better be more stable than their other stuff, like Live Messenger. That thing crashes and locks up so much, it's become an advertising campaign for products like Trillian and aMSN and other alternatives. Pretty sad when other companies can make programs that utilize your network better than you can.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Maybe this will be a good system, but steam has too many games right now at fairly good prices. The only quirk I have about steam is the pre-order annoyance, yes you can pre purchase games usually at reduced cost, but on the release date you have to wait to some random time of day not at 00:01 AM on the day of release as it should be. Just recently with Dirt 2 which was released on the 1st of December, oh wait no, now its the 4th of December, oh wait no I still can't download it to play... If this new Microsoft service allows me to play the game as soon as it becomes the day of release then I would consider using it, if not then I'll stick with steam and its shenanigans.

BlackIrish said:

Mmm, I had the same problems with GTA IV. Hopefully they'll fix those problems.

buttus said:

For me, Steam rocks. I love how easy the interface is, the deals they offer are excellent and even when I have dealt with their customer service it was excellent and most helpful. MS seems to want at least one finger in every pie and it is kinda annoying. Why not just stick with what they do well instead of trying to be jacks of all trades but masters of none?

insect said:

The biggest thing will always be price and advertising. Steam offers great deals and by default (can be changed) opens up to a nice advertising page with full links, reviews, price, demos, videos, and screenshots, which always draws me in.

If MS can offer better deals and bring the deals to the masses in a similar or better way than Steam, they might gain some reputation. Of course, like most anything... it's always a good idea to shop around because any of the services might offer a better deal than the other.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

more actors means more competition & always good for us consumers.

if there a few free games, why not give it a try!? i wander if steam & D2D have free games too ... will do a check, thanks to this article i've learnt about impulse, must check!


klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft has another thing coming if they think they can take on steam do i like steam no bot alot but it is the best at what it does. Who hasnt looked at prices on steam and went wow thats better than retail and then bought a game? im not a fan of the way microsoft produces software i mean is live going to give me an error every 5 min or say live has stopped responding and restart i hope not i for one will not use this service.

Misch868 said:

I'll probably give Microsoft's service a fair try. I don't know how you could do better than Steam (although Steam does have those little annoyances like releasing games on time). But I love having all of my games in one place and being able to back them up or transfer them to any computer. I think Steam may get itself into a little bit of trouble if it gets too many exclusives (like modern warfare 2) that hurts competition with other companies. Hopefully Microsoft whips up something worthy.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think the Games for Windows Live reputation took a battering when they asked people to sign in just to play a game, even single player. Nobody wants to play DRM-laden games with clunky software to jump through hoops, and knowing M$, the digital copies will probably be the same price as physical copies.

KG363 KG363 said:

Unless they do something revolutionary, I think that the only business they will get is from the people who see "Games on Demand" in their Games folder

treeski treeski said:

I don't doubt that Microsoft will get some of my business through this service. I use Games for Windows, soooomewhat reluctantly, for DoW2 and Unreal Tournament 3.

I rarely buy games at full price, which is partially why I like Steam so much. Steam as a lot of free-to-play weekends + significant discount. If Microsoft's new service has some big deals that Steam isn't giving, then I'll buy the game through Games on Demand.

It almost always comes down to where I can find the best deal, honestly =P

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'll certainly keep an eye on this. Microsoft might not get things right on first try, but they do know how to improve their offerings, so it could grow up to be a competitive service with Steam, and I'd certainly welcome competition here.

Guest said:

LOL Microsoft not doing so well with the crappy XBox so now the company is trying to kiss PC gamers asses ..... LOL .... hope Microsoft don't mess with my Steam client ...

Guest said:

My biggest fear is Microsoft wont try to compete with the other services but instead try to get developers to exclusively release only on their platform even if it is inferior. I really don't have much faith in Microsoft trying to get a foothold int he market by providing a superior service and better deals to customers. Instead we will have all the same old problems with GFWL but no choice for what to use with new releases.

if I'm wrong I will gladly eat some humble pie and try their service, but I am very skeptical.

Guest said:

I wish them luck, GFWL is still a bit too restrictive compared to Steam.

Like to see how they handle DRM situation vs Steam.

treeski treeski said:

Guest said:

LOL Microsoft not doing so well with the crappy XBox so now the company is trying to kiss PC gamers asses ..... LOL .... hope Microsoft don't mess with my Steam client ...

You must not keep up with console news, because the Xbox isn't in any kind of trouble.

I mean, for example, I think a day or two after banning 1mil consoles, they had the largest number of users online ever.

And with their new motion sensor technology, a company (I forget which, you can find it earlier on the Techspot news page) already remarked that they have like 15 game titles lined up to use the technology.

Also, Xbox might be behind Wii and PS3 with sales (although I'm not sure it is behind PS3 in total sales) but it still has a good following of its own.

UT66 said:

MS Windows Live sucks. and no ms i wont use your net framework crap.

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

its not about stealing people away from other digital distribution sites, It a way for Micro$oft to distribute their own content, and the developers which they have contracts with. A game made by valve wont magically show up on the micro$oft site...that's contracted to steam. 7 wont be distributed through Steam

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

i doubt you can even call it a competion when steam wins overwhemingly Steam is the wal-mart of pc gaming

Basher said:

If they are going to go the Steam route, which saying they are integrating this service into their Live stuff, seems like that is what they are trying to do. They definitely won't get me on it. I keep as few programs like that running as I possibly can, and having used Steam for many years, that is what I'm sticking with. I love my overlay.

Timonius Timonius said:

Well, first of all they need to can the microsoft points system. It is useless and stupid. They also need to make sure they are open for sales internationally with 'normal' payment methods. As a Canadian I'm still upset about the whole zune marketplace thing (but that's another story in itself and a bit of a rabbit trail).

Decimae said:

I do think I'm going to try the free games. Though I don't think it's going to beat valve, because in terms of games, Valve > Microsoft games imo.

Alster37 Alster37 said:

I'm quite pleased microsoft are expanding their gaming service, as I liked the fact that I could talk and play against xbox 360 players and earn achievements. But the downside was the lack of live enabled games but now thier GAMES ON DEMAND thing is to include more live enable games like world of goo It pleases me more.

hopefully in the future all gfw games with be live enabled and being able to play against ps3 gamers aswell would make it even better.

Puiu Puiu said:

It will be very hard to top Steam, but the more competition the better. I for one will not buy from microsoft unless they have great deals like steam has.

kaonis92 said:

Haha, microsoft will bite the dust. No one messes with steam!

lfg18 said:

Microsoft is a company with a very bad reputation, we know how their products tend to work in a non very desirable way, remember how win 98 failed in its presentation with bill gates present haha, well for those things and more Microsoft is not very popular, when they launch I will surely visit their site since they will probably have offers, after that i don't think they will be very successful, they have to deal with steam which had a terrific black Friday sell, and I'm pretty sure they will do similar event the day Microsoft launches its site and there are other competitors, i don't see a bright future for them, but hey who knows maybe they will do the right thing.

Se7enVII said:

I hope GFWL gets better for the sake of competition (though I have my doubts). But until it has all the features/benefits of Steam I don't see it getting anywhere anytime soon.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Somehow I can't see Microsoft posting weekend specials like Steam does. Me thinks they're just too greedy to let a few pennies slip past them. And must they consistently be the Johnny-Come-Lately to every party?

Serag said:

They really need to nearly completely change how games for Windows Live works..

and I really doubt they'll pose any threat to Steam at least just in the beginning

kommunist said:

Meh...Steam works really well, I don't see myself switching anytime soon, or at all for that that matter.

If M$ can come come up with some better deals than Steam, then maybe. However I highly doubt that M$ will.

gobbybobby said:

treeski said:

I don't doubt that Microsoft will get some of my business through this service. I use Games for Windows, soooomewhat reluctantly, for DoW2 and Unreal Tournament 3.

Unreal 3 does not use Games for windows live, I kinda like using the games for windows live client, becuase I can chat to freinds who are on Xbox live and not have to pay like they do!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You know, the more I think on this, the more I come to realize that we (as users) won't really decide where Microsoft fits in the digital distribution food chain. It will all come down to how many exclusives they can pull in, and how many games they can force a tie in with their Live service. And, like them or not, Microsoft has some deep pockets and serious clout in the PC marketplace. They've already managed to pull in some of the most anticipated titles recently, forcing a Live connection for patching and DLC stuff, which many people found horrid... Plus any Xbox exclusive titles will end up with a Live connection on the PC ports, as a default. It'll end up the same as Steam, if a title comes out that uses Live, you won't have a choice if you want to play it.

I could see them being #2 fairly quickly, if they play their marketing games efficiently. Unless there is a massive outcry and boycott of Microsoft Live games, they will very likely gain a large foothold in the marketplace. And, it would HAVE to be an outcry as well as boycott, because if the sales numbers stay low, they will just blame piracy or lack of quality content - we, as consumers, have to let the developers know WHY we don't buy a product, not just avoid buying it.

Guest said:

I think MS competition will improve Steam eventually. Like the game management tab (c'mon Valve). But Steam have all I need, download my game anytime anywhere, killer deals, good support, its simple and has a big game's library.

yangly18 yangly18 said:

as long as it's not like steam where you MUST be online to play it could work out...i guess....

Razerblade said:

I do not think they will be able to offer the same kind of service as steam. I think they should save their time and leave it up to the people already doing it!

Guest said:

Really annoying that I have to give Steam my product key THEN I can't play the game unless I give this retarded crap my product key as well. No thanks, I don't want to sign into Steam and then sign into WL to play. The hell's steam even there for in the first place?

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