Games for Windows FAIL

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GFWL is an abomination and if cracks didn't exist that let me avoid installing it I wouldn't buy any game that required it.


You haven't even scratched the surface of how bad GFWL is, Shamus. For us players who regularly play the multiplayer for Dawn of War 2, it's an abomination of the highest order.

The world's worst and most exploitable matchmaking system, bugs and imbalances that go unfixed for as long as months because of Microsoft certification, and an inexcusably clunky interface mars an RTS experience that I feel is superior to Starcraft 2. Thank god Relic has moved on to Steamworks for the next expand-alone (and an Eldar campaign, hoo-ray!).

What's the problem with the match making system? (Has avoided DoW2's multiplayer for many other reasons.)

Also, remember everyone, GFWL started off as a pay service. Microsoft actually wanted you paying them 15 bucks a month for the privilege of being screwed this badly.

Ye I remember the Halo 2 PC version had that, why would I pay monthly to play an FPS(no matter how good or bad it is)? T.T"


13) One Microsoft rep suggests closing GFWL, and letting the game download "in the background." Wait, so when I close GFWL it's still running? It's not visible in the system tray, or on the taskbar, but it's there in the background eating CPU and bandwidth? Do I need to explain why this is a horrible setup and disrespectful of the end user?

Reminds me of Windows Media Player, except that horrid pile of shit not only runs in the background but CANNOT be ended. If you end the process it just restarts without your permission automatically.

Let's say you got a song playing in WMP and want to close it, using the [X] button. It will only minimize itself and you have to force close it threw the task manager which is bs...

gfwl the crappier version of xbox live

Man, that really sucked.

Although, I really liked the comparison at the end. XD I laughed a lot.

Funny, the only problem I encountered was the Product Key thing. Aside from that I've yet to have a problem with it, yes I needed an update but it literally took me straight to the page to get the update from with a big message going "you need this to make GFWL work!" So, yeah you had a terrible experience with it, but I have to wonder if it was your system that just plain hates you because aside from waiting 24 hours for a CD key I never once had an issue.

I do agree that a cd key for a digital download item is ridiculous, why it was needed I cant fathom but whatever it was probably just less work to leave it like that rather than fix it.

Mista Miggins:
Microsoft is really bad at this stuff.

As much as I hate Microsoft there good some things really good but your right just not this.

GFWL is so far behind Steam, Impulse and GoG that it's a wonder they are not announcing they discovered fire.

i lold. Steam ftw

Oh just buy steam for fuck sake let them handle there business as usual

I would have liked to have bought this game for 10 cents, but I made a very huge mistake. I tried buying it with a gift card with only a dollar left. MS still has that dollar tied up in authentication.

Ah well, I made a mistake, and I have to live with it. No biggie.

Or my experience DL gfwl click install, scroll through store and DL AOE3 30 min later i'm playing online. All this on a 4 year old laptop. Uninstall gfwl and i'm good to go.

Lol, I love it when you go on a tirade Shamus, because you still do it with intelligence and don't lose your cynicism.

Great article. I will stay the frak away from GFWL.

When I put it in it told me to install a hotfix first. Maybe that fixed it.

I encounter problem for both stream and GFWL, from what I seen GFWL have more serious problem then stream.

Great article, the first 10 steps or so also happened to me last weekend when I wanted to buy the same game. How naive of me to believe that, since they said they wanted to compete with Steam (lol), they would be able to sell to more than ~20 countries...

Meh, I've had issues with both services. I've had far less with GFWL than Steam, but that could be due to Fallout 3 being the only GFWL game I've ever really played for a long time, and I avoided the thing altogether with the Mod Manager. Steam on the other hand seems to go looking for the slowest server it can find to download updates from every second time I open the freaking program.

I got it and it worked fine for me, couldent pass up 3 games for 10 cents

GFWL is so far behind Steam, Impulse and GoG that it's a wonder they are not announcing they discovered fire.

That's just it. They haven't yet.

Great article, the first 10 steps or so also happened to me last weekend when I wanted to buy the same game. How naive of me to believe that, since they said they wanted to compete with Steam (lol), they would be able to sell to more than ~20 countries...

And they wouldn't run out of their own software...

BTW: Awesome avatar.

Notice how they hardly ever fail to bill you, even if everything else crashes and burns.

Come to think of it, you can say that about a lot of services.


I've bought one game off GFWL and will never again. I had all of the same problems as the ones listed in the article. It took me all evening to get Batman:AA working with GFWL when I could have bought it on Steam and started playing within a couple hours.

I bought Batman:AA on Steam. It makes you install GFWL anyways.

Damn.. Really? I actually bought it on Steam also a while back because I reformatted my hard drive and didn't feel like bothering with GFWL (it was on sale). As long as the install is done through Steam it's okay I guess but that kinda sucks.

My experience:
Click link. Go through TOS crap. Agree.
My parent's Live account is required to agree as well. I am over 18, but I wasn't when I made a quick throwaway xbox account (I don't own an xbox) 2 years ago for a school project.
I try to delete my account. I cannot.
I register a new email JUST to make a live account. I go through all the process, finally go to buy my game and...

The worst thing? Some very good games are being ruined with GFWL. And I still can't think of a reason for developers to be insane enough to put it in. It's like you're buying a game and on the box there's a large fleshy tumor sticking out. That tumor is the GFWL logo.

My issue with GFWL is that it thinks I'm in the United States.
It thinks that so hard it won't let me change the country in anything I do.. including billing.

Now my credit card company, they're quite aware that I'm in Canada, so when I try to submit a payment and MS attempts to verify my card as being one in the US, my credit card company says (rightly) "screw you".

I gave up trying to get AoE III about 30 minutes into the process. I figure if Microsoft doesn't want my money that badly, I'll just do them a favor and not give them any more of it.

This is why there are pirates! Because some companies JUST CAN'T PRODUCE!

This is why there are pirates! Because some companies JUST CAN'T PRODUCE!

You don't seriously believe that, do you?

Message received. GFWL can kiss my shapely buttocks.

Zachary Amaranth:

This is why there are pirates! Because some companies JUST CAN'T PRODUCE!

You don't seriously believe that, do you?

Not really. I'm sure some pirates like that they DO circumvent this crap, but probably not many actually intended it for that purpose. It just sounded like something good to shout. Maybe some dunce at Microsoft will spring to action because we're all afraid of piracy now.

Even in combination with Steam it crashes after I ended the game. It's ridiculous how all the crashes and bugs all come in Windows Live, not to mention the strange ways of adding friends to the list.

I've been really itching to play a new simulation/4x type of game recently and when I saw this sale mentioned I was thinking it would be a great way to try a new one without putting up much cash without knowing whether I would enjoy it or not.

I got as far as three browser restarts(I had it change languages on me and got in the ToS loop too), then finally got to the purchase screen and it hiccuped trying to accept my payment when I gave up.

I had some frustration before with GFWL not liking to log in correctly for arkham asylum, but after my experience here I am done making any purchases through them and if I spot that a game runs it then that game is probably going to have a lot higher of a bar to clear for me to pick it up.

Yeah GFWL is a mess but at some point somebody is going to have to counter Steam for control of the market. It's only out of the goodness of Valve's heart that Steam isn't screwing us all and leaving us to take it due to their dominance of the market and the necessity of their platform.

Funny thing, my problem wasn't with the actual client, this time. For once, the client runs smooth... Mostly. Still eats up bandwidth like a bitch, but it let me get to the download and back with relatively little trouble.

But then the game... OHHH THE GAME. I've played it very little, on account that there are times when it just refuses to start up. At all. It literally stops responding, no matter how many attempts or restarts I try. And the only way to get it running again is to completely wipe it, reinstall it(Which keep in mind, means having to re-download GFWL after I kicked its buggy ass off my computer) and then wait for the whole damn download to get itself done again.

Microsoft make many good products. They make many more horrifically doomed projects that are usually euthanized quickly, but this is just a side-effect of making such a sheer quantity of products. GFWL is a product that should have been put out of it's misery quickly and ONLY redone from scratch IF the execs really still wanted to wheel and deal with the big publishers. As it is: it's perpetually broken. After three-ish years I think that's pretty much proof that it CAN'T be fixed without scrapping everything currently in place, FINALLY acknowledging the systemic flaws, and leaving those flaws out of GFWL2.

Microsoft are just aweful at this, (I swear they seem to operate on the basis that THEY know what the customers want, (and don't actually ask them!)).

I've used all the digital download services, (barring getgames), and this is how I rate them:

1. Good old Games. (good customer service, no DRM, a lot of titles have plenty of extras)
2. Steam (Lots of offers, and steam program isn't too invasive)
3. Gamersgate (have some good offers, no steam-like software involved, blue coins is a fairly good bonus)

Then the best of the dregs:

4. Direct2drive (not very good deals, only beats impulse due to no steam-like software requirements)
5. Impulse (not very good deals)
6. Green Man Gaming (pretty awful. same games always on "sale". Trade-in incentive is a good idea in concept, but in execution not so important. Not a lot of games on there also)
7. Games for windows live, (Awful. The fact you can pay for some things using Points makes it just barely tolerable)

I'd rather there not be any DRM at all.

Steam's fine and dandy and all that, but in the end, it's still yet another program that you have to install and sign into just to play your games.

For example, got a new computer, and decided to install a few games on it to see how it ran. Oh, Left 4 Dead sounds good!

Oh wait, I gotta download steam first. That's fine, it's like 50 MBs, right? Download that, sign into my Steam account.


I have to download the goddamn game off of Steam's servers? On a dial up internet connection? You're fucking joking, right? What's the disc for?

Steam's got plenty of good deals, and it's not very invasive at all, but we're getting farther and farther from "Pop and Play" gaming, something I'd really love to see make it's way to PC gaming. And the bigger hassle a game is to play, the less chance I'll have of reinstalling it in the future, especially when gaming is supposed to be an "Escape" in the first place.

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