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Microsoft: Games For Windows Live had "a rocky start"

Epic, Lionhead, AoE team apparently happy with updated version

Microsoft senior producer Kevin Unangst has admitted flaws with its PC service Games For Windows Live.

GFWL, a PC derivation of its Xbox Live online platform, has been the subject of heavy criticism from a vocal group of PC gamers, and recently saw long-time advocate THQ drop it from its latest Dawn of War title.

Third-party tools to excise Live from PC games that use it are prevalent.

Admitted Unangst to CVG, "I think because it was designed originally as a partner to the console service more than the PC service, we had a rocky start.

"We also didn't back it up with the most important thing, which is doing fantastic games to take advantage of the service. A network by itself isn't valuable - there needs to be great games to take advantage."

With recent and ongoing changes, Microsoft's partner developers had become happier with the service, he claimed. "The Age of Empire team has got a lot of great input and the same can be said for Lionhead, who said 'we're going to build Fable 3 on the PC' and know what they want out of the service.

"Epic did a great job of promoting Live with Bulletstorm. They're pleased with the platform and the service is going to continue to get better over time."

Bulletstorm's implementation of Live is broadly similar to past versions, requiring account creation/sign-in and mandatory updates to access either the singleplayer or multiplayer mode, and encrypting savegame files to prevent sharing.

Unangst remained convinced that "I think the underpinnings are great, I think it's going to continue to get better."

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Alec Meer


A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.