Microsoft mulls full PC game downloads

GFW - Live interface update lands tomorrow, desktop Marketplace slated for December; Fallout 3 DLC first in the hopper.

Next week, Microsoft will launch the much-anticipated New Xbox Experience dashboard overhaul for its console-based online service. Features included in the update are Mii-like avatars, Netflix's on-demand movie service, full-game hard-drive installation, and the ability to order Xbox 360 games via Xbox.com.

GFW - Live's new look.

With NXE in the queue for console gamers, Microsoft also said that PC gamers would be receiving some love this year, thanks to a series of updates to its Games for Windows - Live service. The first of those updates entailed dropping the Gold-level subscription fees to allow free access to all previously available features. The publisher said that, later in the fall, it would also be overhauling GFW - Live's user interface as well as launching a PC companion to the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Today, the publisher confirmed that the first of those planned changes--the new UI--will be available as a free update through the service tomorrow. Microsoft also narrowed down the release window for the launch of the GFW - Live Marketplace, saying that PC gamers will be able to download trailers, demos, and add-on content beginning in December.

When the PC Marketplace does go online later this year, Microsoft confirmed that Bethesda Softworks' best-selling Fallout 3 will be the first game to offer downloadable content--the same DLC as will be offered on the Xbox 360. Other games signed on to take advantage of the GFW - Live Marketplace include Grand Theft Auto IV, James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Red Faction: Guerrilla, and Battlestations: Pacific.

In a debriefing on the service, Microsoft also confirmed for GameSpot that downloadable content is only the beginning of the publisher's digital-distribution efforts through the desktop-oriented Marketplace. The publisher also said that it plans to offer full-game downloads through the Marketplace "somewhere down the road." Unfortunately, Microsoft was reticent to provide more details on this service or when it will be rolled out.

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Discussion

115 comments
world69star69
world69star69

"thank god i will finally be able to download trailers demos and DLC on my PC.. :\" --- I don't get comments like this, I really hope this is sarcasm!!! Please You don't need M$ holding your hand to download stuff from pc, there are impulse, steam , d2d, fileplanet, and 1000's of other places...please people if you care about pc gaming don't use live!

world69star69
world69star69

Don't use live!!! They will make content exclusive to it like they do on the consoles with dlc. Then once they get a monopoly on dlc they will make you pay to access, and people will pay because they don't know any better and want the content. PC gamers know better though, we are not the same saps who pay for online play...do not use live, don't let m$ get a stranglehold on the industry. This is a classic m$ ploy..don't fall for it. PC/PS3/WII/PSP/DS ftw!!

world69star69
world69star69

Screw M$ and their pro rrod machine... they had there chance with pc, but they blew it. Instead they stole so many of pc's devs, like bungie, bioware, ensemble, etc... and now bioware doesn't make D&D, bungie makes halo only crap..and ensmeble is no more, M$'s reason... they didn't fit in to there casual xbox plan...well send them back to pc to make age of empires4...what the hell... So Screw M$ don't support live! At all...did you know you can't get bethesda's fallout dlc unless you get it through live...what type of crap is that. I don't want to use live, Steam yes, live hell no!! They tried to get us to pay and now realize we won't so they are going to offer it for free and then lock other content out just like they are doing with consoles and dlc with denying ps3 from it. Once this happens they will put the fee back in and dumb people will pay because they want the content. Don't fall for this. M$ doesn't care about you!! All it cares about is making profits off you any way it can...SCrew m$

BeatMith
BeatMith

KEEP SUPPORTING STEAM AND LOCAL RETAILERS -----SCREW MICROSOFT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wyked
Wyked

thank god i will finally be able to download trailers demos and DLC on my PC.. :\

rtechie
rtechie

So, a few points: No FPS for the XBOX360 supports keyboard + mouse input via USB. There are specialty adapters for the 360 like the XFPS 360 but those devices map the mouse to analog stick control which is not ideal. Many of the best players on Live are using such devices. So far every multiplayer game with PC/360 cross-platform play has gimped PC players so they don't stomp all over players on the 360. This is not to say that all FPS on the 360 are inferior, just that the keyboard+mouse control scheme is obviously vastly more accurate. 360 players pay for Gold fees because they're wiling to. While Microsoft provides a central download and matching service, multiplayer games on the 360 are essentially peer to peer. These kinds of platforms have been available for a long time on the PC for free (Battlefield 1942), and PC users were simply unwilling to pay for what they've been getting for free for a decade. Online services were new to consoles when the original XBOX was introduced and the PS2's "free" online was a disaster, so the fee did not seem so unreasonable for console users at the time. I think that inevitably Microsoft will be forced to add more value to Gold accounts in the form of free DLC (they'll be very reluctant to drop the cash-cow fees altogether) in light of the fact no other console charges for online. As I mentioned above, PC users have had these services for a long time and GFW Life will face stiff competition from Steam and others. Microsoft can easily crush them if they put in the effort. It's very difficult to resist the lure of "free stuff", and MS has the cash to afford to give away games and content to users of GFW Live to lure them away from Steam and others. Will they? Time will tell.

redsnake9111
redsnake9111

monopolist pigs. I'm glad they finally came to their senses and dropped the gold subscription fees. Now if only we could stream netflix like on the NXE. :P

Barighm
Barighm

*sigh* People still don't realize you can plug any USB mouse or keypad to a 360...

brian_13un
brian_13un

Wow a downloadable content nice ^_^

ffsdsfz
ffsdsfz

I want a full game download of Dead Rising for the 360! That would be awsome! 360 games to download FTW!!

samftrmd
samftrmd

One day XBOX 360 will support USB keyboard and mouse. Until then Consoles are for sissy.

xyboink
xyboink

huh, the speed and the accurary of the mouse is better than the 360 console. that is a rare uptade. the users of X-box 360 are disadvantaged.

MAFIOSO_13
MAFIOSO_13

killkill3 you're right!no way a 360controller can match the accuracy and speed of a mouse

killkill3
killkill3

the dumb thing about this is though microsoft wants to make PC and 360 interconnectable, through Live, PC multiplayer gamers can't play against 360 gamers, which is normal cause PC gamers pwn 360 gamers

GANGSTASAN
GANGSTASAN

Oh right steam does that already :p

GANGSTASAN
GANGSTASAN

GFW- The service which could stop the PC crisis of hacking, privacy and cheating... Like Xbox LIVE

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Like i've always said, MS is aiming for tight Console / PC X platform gaming. This seems to reaffirm this.

mehboob_j
mehboob_j

Yaaeekkksss... whoz gona b gold user huunnn....

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Why is M$ still pushing for GFW - Live? Exactly how many people use this service anyway?

Dreski83
Dreski83

A lot of hush hush activity going on and its results are right around the corner... I'm real curious how well this "new" setup for the 360 will turn out... maybe even a little excited :roll:

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

The XBL marketplace works fine, so this might not be too bad. Rather than complaining about DRM, look at the positive side. With this new Windows Live marketplace or whatever they're calling it, we hopefully won't have to worry about other vendor's (arguably crappier) DRM. If the MS service turns out more like Steam and less like StarForce, I'm all for it!

umbrae
umbrae

Hope they learn the DRM lesson. The only reason I do not buy PC games is because of the DRM. I have only bought 3 PC games in the last 5 years (all for my kids) and only 1 of them was actually playable. A shame the industry is so worried about piracy that they are willing to starve themselves to death.

killkill3
killkill3

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

killkill3
killkill3

Steam pwns Live out of the water, there is no reason in hell why I should want to use Live. However because of Microsoft's monopoly on the OS PC games operate on, they shove down our throats s**t like Windows LIVE that no real PC gamer is even the slightest interested in. Sure xbots will find themselves in familiar territory but how many 360 gamers are real PC gamers? The reason you want a 360 in the first place is because you don't want to splash the cash on an expensive new PC, because most 360 exclusive games come on the PC platform in an improved state anyway.

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

Why would i give M$ any money when Steam works just fine?

0Goldeneye0
0Goldeneye0

I like the new look, Still no great games to use the multiplayer. On average theres like 20 people playing Halo 2, about 30 people playing Gears of War, and no one plays 007, They need some multiplayer games for LIVE, otherwise I still think this is a useless program. Steam is basically the same thing but better. GFW Live is just microsoft trying to push us to Xbox, trying to make the PC exerience more like Xbox and trying to get a subscription from us.

mikeyg756
mikeyg756

The party chat thing is just awesome. Now people can stop complaining about the retarded 12 year olds, if you don't want to talk to them, start a group chat with your friends.

st1ka
st1ka

it's nice that steam has some competition, that way we as gamers are the true winners as both services will try to outperform each other, i remember a time when everyone said steam was crap... now everyone loves steam, i believe the same will follow for windows live... IF microsoft plays it's cards right...and this was a step in the right direction

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

Just what we needed: a crappier version of Steam. Horray! On a brighter note, Fallout 3 DLC = hella tight.

XanderKage
XanderKage

Hm... Well, upgrades are always sweet, especially when they're free.

Vasot
Vasot

This DLC will be only for Xbox360 and for the PC :)

LewyDeng2
LewyDeng2

Hekynn are u freakin serious? xbl is so cheap. ur a moron

satec
satec

As a 360 owner and a member of Live Gold since the original xbox (before it was even called gold), I have no problem paying for the service. I also own a wii and have played on the PSN, and neither of their free online can compare to the simplicity and cohesiveness of Live. I live on my own, and pay my own Live fees from my money, but I accept that the service itself is worth the cost of 1 new release game per year. My biggest issue with Live was party chat, and it looks like that will be addressed next week (finally). As for the PC service, it was inevitable that it would fail as a pay service because of the PC's long history of free online play, and because of the numerous other free services that provide similar functionality on the PC. As far as I'm concerned, GFWL needs 3 things to compete with Steam: more software support, more crossover with the 360 (I understand the inbalance in ranked play, but why can't I mess around in custom games with my friends on the PC?), and most importantly, an independant platform that doesn't require you to be running a GFWL game to see if your friends are online and chat (maybe integrated into Windows 7?). I really hope to see future improvements on integration of Live and Windows Live Messenger. When you control 2 platforms as big as these there are so many possibilities.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

killkill3 said: "...As a member of the elite PC gamer class, I piss on Microsoft and their petty attempts at reconciling irreversible damages to the PC gaming community (i.e. Vista)" Irreversible? Oh, please! if you're that desperate for 1 or 3 more frames per second in difference then just switch to Windows XP SP3, it's that easy and no one's stopping you. @ mujeeb1 Steam >>>> Live! Every Pc game knows that. Why!? Oh I don't know, maybe because it doesn't charge for "DLC" (mods), it has a greater and wider library of games to download, they give free mod games to users who have one Source engine game installed, has every use that Live! has, it can save your game saves and personal settings to their servers and of course much more. And did I mention it was free?

Hekynn
Hekynn

ya they need to make XBL FREE and when they do I will pick up a 360 :)

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

Hvac0120, I see your point and you have a very valid reason to protest. I don't own an xbox360 but the only thing that comes to mind on the membership is that maybe microsoft are the ones who provide the servers for the people to play in, whereas in Pc games people make their own servers and maintain them with their own money. This was also a reason on why Games For Windows Live was such a failure on Pc. Since it first came with Halo 2 that required Vista to play it and required the Gold Live service to play online, view stats and the downloadable content when easily all of this was obtained without any needs to pay before. Even though they plan to take out the fee out of GFWL I still think it will fail massively due to Steam, which is what Microsoft is basically trying to copy. Steam right now offers almost everything that Microsoft plans to offer with it's Live services and it's a free app you can download and use to download paid games securely.

hitomo
hitomo

shade1978x Posted Nov 13, 2008 5:57 am PT "Fallout 3 DLC" is all I needed to hear. I am on board." hm ... this makes you an official mircrosoft-bi'tch ... wooh I cant believe those tags like "DLC" and "FO3" actually working on you peoples... whats if I ring a bell ... do you start to undress then or maybe you get hungry ... ? downloadable content my ass ... I will never pay extra money for anything they forget or DIDNT WANTED TO include into the actual game... su'ckers I keep your industry runing with my hard earned money ... so let me download your crap for free already ... he'ck ... su'ckers / DLC is not a service its just going to save the puplisher a lot of money ... but the games doent get cheaper ... su'ckers ... I shpould pay them for scaming and spaming directly into my room, thoughts, mind ... ? and Gamespot? ... who the hel'l is Bethesda Softwark's ? greetz

Generalmojo
Generalmojo

well its gd 360 is getting this ur paying for the damn thing anyway!

Netherscourge
Netherscourge

MS needs to make Xbox Live FREE to compete with PSN, which is slowly but steadily gaining ground.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Why is the Gold-level Live service provided freely to PC gamers, while console gamers must pay $50/year? What is the difference between the two pieces of hardware that justify this cost? What's more confusing is that after you pay for a Gold subscription (on console) all you get is the ability to play against others. WTF? You still have to pay for other content and there are no other benefits of being a Gold member, so what's the point? BTW - it's not "only $4/month." If you pay monthly, it's $8/month. And those of you who have little responsibilty other than your own well-being and those whose parents pay the price, keep quiet. You have no place to argue this because this system is designed especially to meet YOUR needs, but not the needs of others. When most multiplayer games on the 360 are P2P networking and not putting a huge load on their servers, there is no reason for them to charge. Lastly, it's B.S. that you have to be a Gold member to enjoy the Netflix option. Why should I need to pay for a Gold membership if I already have a Netflix account? If I'm not using online multiplayer, I shouldn't need to pay for Gold. I'll just stream off my PC, which is conveniently connected to my HDTV. Maybe someone at Microsoft needs to actually answer some of these questions if they don't like people complaining.

killkill3
killkill3

Sorry Microsoft, the day you make a stable OS that doesn't hog up all the resources of our PCs will be the day I decide you are worthy of respect. As a member of the elite PC gamer class, I piss on Microsoft and their petty attempts at reconciling irreversible damages to the PC gaming community (i.e. Vista)

tclvis
tclvis

Nice to see Microsoft finally starting to lend useful support to PCs again instead of crippling them with subpar OS.

Elchaseo
Elchaseo

without all the early hiccups

Elchaseo
Elchaseo

It's nice to see microsoft picking up on steams idea. Mujeeb1 steam's ads are only for their own games...and only on one page of their interface...so i guess to many ads? Steam startup times have never been to much of a problem either but whatever. I'm pleased to see more downloadable content, and better support for their games will hopefully come. I'll let others give it the first tests, but it would be great if this worked as well as steam

darkspartan1992
darkspartan1992

I hope this includes Super Street Fighter 2 turbo hd remix for DLC for my pc, since i dont have xbox live. :p

mujeeb1
mujeeb1

Live > Steam. 1. Steam takes forever to start up. 2. There are too many damn ads in Steam to make sense of anything. 3. I already have a Live account, have had one for 3 years. Integrating that to PC makes a hell of a lot more sense.