Microsoft doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with their botched Games for Windows Live non-service, but for now it’s remaining on life support. There have been persistent indications that Microsoft’s much unloved PC service would be shutting down for good on 1 July, sparked by an entry on the Age of Empires Online support page which said that, er, Games for Windows Live would be shutting down on 1 July.
That entry rapidly vanished, but since that time a substantial number of developers have moved their games from GfWL to Steamworks. BioShock 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum and City, plus Relic’s Warhammer 40k games have all made the switch. Twisted Pixel have even moved Ms. Splosion Man over, and they’re a team owned by Microsoft.
Clearly, then, something is up.
Microsoft’s latest statement on the matter, given to Game Informer, reads as follows:
We are continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service. As previously announced, as part of the retirement of Microsoft Points the Xbox.com PC marketplace was closed. Although customers are unable to purchase new games from the marketplace or receive title updates, they can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows Live client as usual. We remain committed to investing in PC gaming in the years ahead, and look forward to sharing more in the future.
So, Games for Windows Live is dead as a marketplace, and as a method of distributing patches … but it will continue to (barely) function for the foreseeable future. You could frame that as reasonable news for the games (like Dark Souls) which have not yet switched from GfWL, because it means they’ll still be playable. The down-side, though, is that without the impetus of a GfWL shutdown we probably won’t get a vastly preferable Dark Souls Steamworks version. Boo.
This surely won’t be the end of the GfWL saga, but for now it’s a service on continued life support.