Games for Windows, Time for a New Start?

Back in 2006 Microsoft took the E3 stage to tout the launch of its new PC gaming platform ‘Games for Windows’ that would work with its Vista system and ‘seamlessly integrate gaming between the PC and Xbox 360’.  2 years on and the GFW platform is in a state of disarray, key products that were supposed to be system sellers turned out to be flawed (ala Shadowrun and Hellgate: London) or suffered from the excessive system requirements required to play; something that while Crysis arrived to critical acclaim sold handfulls due to needing an entirely new system to play.

The problem seems stem from Microsofts commitment to both platforms and as a hardware manufacturer for the Xbox meaning that costs needed to be covered more on the console side of things, especially seeing as the PC is normally made up of components from various manufacturers.

Indeed, the sentiment that “PC gaming is dead” always appears to surface on message boards from time to time and it seems it’s not just the users that are up in arms about it, today on 1up the COO of Blizzard Rob Pardo has stated that Microsoft needs to do more to improve its Games for Windows service.  This is something I couldn’t agree more on, PC gaming is suffering from piracy and is in dire need to some form of structural shift and the only company that seems to have taken this on wholeheartedly has been Valve.  I’ve written about how important Steam is to gaming and software distribution before (infact it made up a considerable part of my honours dissertation).  yet, resorting to full digital distribution is something that I dont think either the retail industry nor the gaming industry itself is ready for.

So what can Microsoft do?  Well if I were at Microsoft (and thats where I want to end up) I would be giving the entire GFW brand a reboot at this years E3, start showing the big titles; Diablo III, Wrath of the Lich King, Left 4 Dead, Far Cry 2 etc.  There needs to be simultaneous launching of games on both the GFW and Xbox platforms, even if this does sacrifice sales on the Xbox in certain regions (1up.com).  Microsoft needs to stop keeping quiet about GFW, admit it was wrong and put its full weight behind the platform… or at least that’s what I would be doing.

I guess we’ll see if anything happens come July 14th



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I'm Mark Gibson & this is another one of my blogs where you're likely to find musings of daily life, gaming & just plain rambling.

Currently Playing:
Modern Warefare 2
Forza 3

Currently Watching:
South Park

Currently Listening to:
Cage - Depart From Me
Flobots - Fight With Tools

Currently Reading:
The Wheel of Time (again)

July 2008
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