Games for Windows Live! shutting down in 2014

posted in: Game News 0

microsoftSo this may have been an inadvertent posting by Microsoft but its been a long time coming. Microsoft is planning to end Games for Windows Live! on July 1st, 2014. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who have kept tabs on PC gaming for the last several years.

The earliest indication of its eventual demise was the slowed releases of the Games for Windows client. Then Microsoft funnelled the Games for Windows store into the Xbox Games store. And finally, just last week, Microsoft announced the end of the Xbox Games PC store.

I’m guessing Microsoft didn’t want that information out in the public yet because they probably haven’t prepped the grand F.A.Q. that will describe what will happen to all our games that use Games for Windows or their Games for Windows Live online service.

There were rumors that some titles are shifting their DRM to Steamworks in preparation of this day. It’s good to know that those developers and publishers are looking out for their consumers but what will happen to the games that won’t be updated? Is there a grand kill switch? Only time will tell.


Microsoft does a 180 on Xbox One DRM policies

posted in: Game News 0

xbox-one-logoAfter weeks of bad press, denials of policy changes and flimsy justifications for their original plans, Microsoft have back pedalled on their initial stance of 24 hour check ins, used games and digital rights management as a whole.

Here are the important bits:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

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How I will cope with a console DRM future

A potentially unfriendly and inconvenient digital rights management future is coming to the next generation of consoles. Microsoft let the cat out of the bag along with a whirlwind of uncertainty and doubt.

Twitter demonstrations and letter campaigns have already sprung up to urge Sony not to follow Microsoft’s path and allow used games to work as they do today. It’s a noble and worthwhile campaign that will hopefully sway Sony and its partners to rethink their future strategy.

But I’m not here to convince everyone to hop online and Tweet. I am here to share my plans and strategies to cope with this potential outcome. I hope I don’t have to employ these tactics but you never know.

Just Like Steam?

Those of us who play PC games have already gone down this DRM path. There is no used games market on the PC. GreenManGaming allows a handful of trade-ins but for the majority publishers and vendors out there, trade-ins are not accepted. You can’t properly lend games and regular online checks are often required as well.

We put up with all of this because of one simple reason: low prices.

Low Prices

I have a threshold for PC games and it hovers around $30. I am willing to pay $30 (and sometimes more) for a PC game that I really like. Without the ability to trade-in, I am unwilling to pay $50 to $60 on a title that I may or may not thoroughly enjoy. I will wait and continue to wait for a title to hit the price point that I feel comfortable with before parting with my money.

That’s it?

Yes. There’s no magical secret to this. I don’t buy used games, I just wait until new games hit low enough prices. I may not be able to lend or borrow games but again, that’s something I can overcome with low enough prices.

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