Games for Windows: Games On Demand has gone live and since there's no good way to say it, I'm going to just go ahead and put it out there: It kind of sucks.
I'm a PC gamer. I can be a little militant about it at times, although I'm usually happy enough to let the button-mashing rabble have their fun as long as they remember their place. But the one thing that's always irked me about consoles - that I've maybe even been a little bit envious of - is the enormous library of games available through online services like Xbox Live Arcade. So when Microsoft announced that it was finally getting around to launching a Games on Demand service for the PC, I was naturally stoked.
Consider me un-stoked. The service went live yesterday and while it seems to work well enough, at this point it's looking pretty lame in every meaningful way. A grand total of eight Games for Windows titles are available and to mark the big event, Microsoft is offering 50 percent off both Viva Pinata and Shadowrun, and a free version of something called Tinker. You don't see that kind of deal every day, kids.
Even at half-price, though, Viva Pinata is still listing for $9.99, whereas most retailers are selling the boxed version (if you can find a copy) for less. The regular-priced games aren't much better; the standard version of Fallout 3, for instance, lists for $59.99, yet for the same price I can nip down to the local store and pick up the Game of the Year edition that comes with all the DLC.
Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. The service is brand-new, after all; bumps will be smoothed and the catalog is bound to grow. But if Microsoft is serious about this, and about PC gaming as a whole, why is it throwing us such crappy bones? Half off Shadowrun? Give me a break.
Still, it's not going to set your computer on fire (I hope) and there's a free game on the table, so there's no harm in checking it out. Games for Windows: Games on Demand requires the latest Games for Windows Live client software, so grab a copy here, take it for a spin and let us know what you think.