Today at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, Microsoft announced that the latest publisher to sign onboard its Games for Windows initiative would be France-based publisher Ubisoft. As with other Games for Windows partners, Ubisoft has agreed to ship a select number of its upcoming releases under Microsoft's certified standards, which include guaranteed compatibility with Windows XP and Vista, as well as support the Xbox 360 gamepad. Games for Windows-branded titles must also undergo quality assurance tests, as well as support Vista's parental controls settings and include other features designed to improve the overall PC gaming experience.
As hinted at in GameSpot's Q&A with the game's producer during this year's E3 Media and Business Summit, Ubisoft's first title to bear the Games for Windows moniker will be The Settlers: Rise of an Empire. Developed by Ubisoft's Germany studio Blue Byte, The Settlers is the sixth installment in the medieval city-building sim and is expected to ship to PCs this September. Like the majority of Games for Windows-branded offerings, it will not offer Live support or achievement points. The Settlers is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older.
Microsoft also noted today that its in-house-developed Train Simulator 2 will also carry the Games for Windows distinction. Once thought canceled, Microsoft apparently revived the project in January, stating that the new Train Simulator would feature the same tech powering Flight Simulator X. No other details on the project were revealed.
Lastly, Microsoft unveiled its latest gadget for PC enthusiasts. Dubbed a "customizable gaming system," Microsoft's Sidewinder mouse offers more than 5,000 customization options, with features that include an LCD that displays DPI and macro setups, weight modifications, and integrated quick-launch capabilities for Windows Vista. The Sidewinder retails for $79.95 and will be available this October.