When it comes to distributing content through online stores, Microsoft’s track record has been less than impressive, to put things politely. They fumbled with the Windows Marketplace and ultimately shut it down. Games for Windows has been a similar sorry tale. While others like Steam, Direct2Drive and Impulse Valve signed on hundreds of developers, Microsoft restricted itself to just a few dozen titles. Microsoft’s only saving grace has been the Zune Store and the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Now, Microsoft has announced that it will relaunch the Games for Windows Marketplace on November 15. The revamped online store will sport a redesigned interface and feature 100 high quality titles at launch. Customers will be able to purchase games using either credit/debit cards or their Microsoft points (from existing Xbox Live accounts). Purchased titles can be downloaded using the web browser, 3rd party download managers or Microsoft’s download manager. Thankfully, Microsoft has decided against forcing customers to go through cumbersome mechanisms involving the Windows Live desktop client.
With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end,said Kevin Unangst, senior global director, PC and Mobile Gaming, at Microsoft. And by integrating with our existing Xbox LIVE and Windows Live services, we’ve made it easier than ever for millions of gamers to see for themselves how easy buying PC games can be.
Titles that will be available at launch include Fable: The Lost Chapters, Grand Theft Auto III, Dead Rising 2, Lost Planet 2, Flight Simulator, Gears of War and Halo. Microsoft has also promised to launch new titles every week. One of the biggest draws of the Xbox store, ‘Deal of the Week’ that offers high quality titles at a deep discount, will also be available.