Games for Windows is a Total Port of Xbox Live

Games for Windows is a Total Port of Xbox Live

Because I've been a wee bit busy lately, I haven't gotten a chance to experience the next-gen renaissance that is Games for Windows Live as much as my Shadowrun-obsessed coworkers. But since I've recently turned into an insomniac, I've been able to sit down with both Halo 2 (for Vista) and Shadowrun (again, fo' Vista) and give 'em a bit of a whirl. While I appreciate the fun gameplay elements of both titles -- even though Halo 2 is a direct port -- I simply can't stand this Windows Live whatever crap. And it's not because the service itself is inherently flawed; it's entirely a matter of how it's been presented.

In short, whoever came up with the brilliant idea to port the Live experience straight from the Xbox to the PC, sans any modifications whatsoever, should be fired. Fired outright. It looks stupid, and is critically lacking in any additional functionality that should be damn-near commonplace in this day and age.

Case in point: they still have the controller buttons listed for actions like moving back and forward in menus. Hello. It's a PC. There is no round red "B" button, and no bright green "A" button for going backwards and forwards. Whatever happened to "Esc?" Or "Enter?" It's a minor point, but a critical element of the user interface that's simply been overlooked -- and if they overlooked it for the buttons, how much are you willing to bet that they ignored the service's functionality as well?

Case in point number two: Games for Windows Live requires you to actually be logged into the game to access Live functions. Why? What's the sense in making the Windows Messaging client the sole gateway between PC and Xbox users? Why not just make Windows Live a taskbar utility that signs in on start-up, and tells your Xbox friends what you're up to -- a quasi-AIM client that you can use to say "hey, I'm in Vista right now," or "I'm in your media player, watchin' your movies." This would not only be an awesome way to unify gamers on a common network (cough Xfire cough), but it would allow my friends to invite/persuade me into games when i'm otherwise... not playing... the game. I mean, if I log onto Shadowrun, I'm expecting to play. But when I'm just hanging out, listening to music and surfing the 'net, I really have no way to tell if everyone else is playing on Xbox. If they were, I'd surely join up as well.

I won't overkill you with details. But suffice, thank god Microsoft isn't charging Xbox Live subscribers anything additional for the Windows version. Because this is hardly a $50 experience as-is, let alone anything more. Microsoft, I'm disappointed in you.

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tzack

I was just wondering, is games for windows-live free, or do I have to pay a yearly subscription charge? If the answer is yes, than this is truly beyond an outrage because I paid for a windows OS, why the hell would i need to pay for gaming on my computer. I was just wondering because from what ive seen of games for windows-live in magazines, it sounds exactly like xbox live, and pc gaming dosent need that.

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TheMurph

yearly subscription for Gold, which you need to have in order to play with other people online across the platforms. to just play with PC players, it's a free silver subscription.

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Darth Ninja

I agree with everything said above!

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Pixelated

I guess MS thinks since PC gamers have been so neglected that direct three year old Xbox ports,in the form of games and services will suffice as attention paid. No MS has only hurt PC gamers smart enough to realize that this is regurgitated fodder not even worthy of oblivious consolers.they have gotten so big that even the worst PR mess won't even dent sales in the global picture. Microsoft has become just another heartless,soulless(so out of touch with reality and the target demographic, completely missing the point)bureaucracy.Really the worst kind of all in the worst kind of way.

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ROK Ready

I don't spend my tax refund every year on uber PC parts like video cards and dual quad hyperdrive CPU's, just to play the same game as some snotty punk on Xbox Live who's sole purpose in life is to ruin the gaming experience for everyone else. If I wanted to play an Xbox 360 game, I would buy an Xbox 360. I spend good money on legit software, and have been a loyal supporter of Microsoft's efforts to stop piracy. But on this, this Games for Windows garbage, I will not have anything to do with. I'm a Halo 2 fan, but it looks like I won't be buying Halo 2 for Vista either.

Good article Dave. Now that I know what this crap from Microsoft is, I can avoid it.

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yagisencho

It does smell of 'port', which is what every PC gamer does their honest best to avoid. That said, there's no reason why they can't reskin it for the PC experience. As for the experience itself...it works.

(And as a matter of fact, I do have a 360 controller connected to my PC.)

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rhsquad

Yes, I completely agree with every letter of text from above.

From the marketing, to the button configs, to the price and more.

Wow, I hope Microsoft is watching this website very tightly.

-Nick

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