A Look at the Games for Windows Initiative
Microsoft wanted installation to just work, more uniform interfaces, better community building features, online integration between PCs and consoles, and a unified retail attack to give the platform the cohesive appearance it's sorely lacked. But what we've ended up with is just prettier packaging and a pretty good magazine.
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This article wasn't an easy read, somehow. Can't put my finger on it.
But it's right, though. Microsoft's gambit to revolutionize PC gaming isn't working well - it was too elaborate, had too many points of failure, and was based on a few hubristic assumptions. Steam, on the other hand, is doing it right. Would it be cynical to predict that Valve will be experiencing a bit of the old "embrace, extend, extinguish"?
Just my random thoughts...
Reason number 1 for this GFW is to make money out of it via a locked-in MS run multiplayer hosting thing like Live is for Xbox's, sigh. Something PC gamers don't seem to need or want - since you have to pay for it! (I paid for the game and I have to pay constantly to play online? Hah!). The subscription model they are attempting to press on people doesn't seem to be working...they don't have a monopoly to abuse here. It is seemingly useless all in all compared to any PC third or first party multiplayer system I've seen.
And the secondary thing to push Vista "compatibility" (IE: putting a ton of stuff in the Documents folder...with no option to say "no", and trying desperately to get developers to code solely in DirectX 10).
Then its finally to stake the claim that the "PC" section of games stores are in fact "Windows" games, and that absolutely no Linux or Mac games should be stocked there, further entrenching it as the sole platform on a PC with games on it. I kinda hate the sadly mis-coloured logos plastered and out of place in game stores now.
I wonder if MS actually pays publishers to do this, I don't see a whole lot of need for them to take up MS's offer, since there doesn't seem to be a large benefit of plastering MS's name everywhere on their box, adverts, promotional material, and game installation stuff.
This seems to be a very biased article from a Xbox fan. You make it sound as if PC gaming is dead. I don't think you know what the hell you are talking about other than "Halo 3 has lots of players."
Now, as for Microsoft, the reason they are failing is (one good point you made) Steam, and the fact everything us PC gamers want out of a game are USUALLY free. Starcraft, Unreal Tournament, Quake, Dawn of War, Counterstrike, Supreme Commander, etc etc all give us outstanding features for multiplayer year after year without additional cost. This is why Microsoft Live failed. They seemed to think that because they brought people 10 years behind the PC gamers online, that they cuold use the same horrible system to trick us.
Microsoft Live bombed, and I doubt much more will come of it over the next few years. Universe at War had promise, but being a Microsoft Live game nobody in Beta really even plays anymore, unfortunate for Petra. Shadowrun was a huge failure also, with Microsoft trying to punish the PC owner for not using a 360 controller for gameplay.
A controller will never hold a candle to mouse/keyboard combo in FPS. I'm glad Unreal 3 isn't going to be cross platform, we won't have to hear all the children on their parentally purchased Halo 3 360 controllers cry because we can aim more fluidly and more accurately.
This seems to be a very biased article from a Xbox fan.
If you knew anything about Sean Sands (the author), you would know how terribly inaccurate that statement is.
Very interesting article as someone who only has a passing interest in PC games these days.
putting a ton of stuff in the Documents folder...with no option to say "no"
This is part of the drive to make using limited user accounts the better option, and as such a very good thing. But it can certainly get annoying when every game makes its own folder in Documents/My Documents.
Vista, bless its cotton socks, has a special Saved Games folder for that kind of thing, but none of the GFW games I've played actually use it!