Games for Windows Live got off to a bad start and then it followed up on that bad start by getting worse and worse. Initially designed as a competitor for Steam, GFWL never took off because of a myriad of problems.
First, Microsoft tried to charge gamers a monthly fee for the privilege of using GFWL. Then, some game developers forced users to use GFWL whether they liked it or not. Next, Microsoft forced gamers to use the stupid Microsoft Points system to purchase anything. And of course, the biggest problem with GFWL is that it offered no discernible advantages over services like Steam.
Well, it looks like Microsoft has finally realized what gamers have known for so long: Games for Windows Live is a bad service that does not benefit 95% of gamers in any way, shape, or form. On July 1, 2014, Microsoft will finally be closing down the GFWL service.
Microsoft hasn’t officially announced anything yet, but a support page was leaked that said the service would be shutting down on the above date. That support page has since been deleted, but since Microsoft recently announced the closure of the GFWL marketplace, it looks like the end is near.
The only major game to be affected by the closure will be Age of Empires Online, which may no longer function after the July 1, 2014 deadline. Older games like Grand Theft Auto IV which relied on the GFWL service may also stop working – at least the multiplayer aspects.
On August 22, 2013, Microsoft officially closed down its Games for Windows Live marketplace, which allowed gamers to buy games and other stuff using Microsoft Points over their PCs. At the same time, Microsoft converted all Microsoft Points on the Xbox 360 into dollars.
Microsoft’s PC future isn’t over quite yet. In fact, it could be just beginning. The company recently hired ex-Valve exec Jason Holtman, who has years of experience with Steam. Microsoft hired Holtman to lead Microsoft’s PC gaming and entertainment division and work with developers to bring titles to Windows.
Don’t discount Microsoft quite yet! My prediction? Microsoft will try to unify its Xbox One gaming services with PC gaming services in a less clumsy way than it attempted with Games for Windows Live.