|13 Nov 2008||#1|
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New Games for Windows
Microsoft bolsters PC gaming with new Games for Windows Live.
Many gamers are critical of the slow pace at which Microsoft has implemented its plans to bolster PC gaming. The company seems to talk the talk on the matter, but exclusive releases of Xbox 360 software and an Xbox-centric focus from its game division suggests that it isn't walking the walk. Today however, the company's campaign aimed at bettering the PC gaming landscape has finally culminated in the release of the new Games for Windows Live service, which is now available to those who own Games for Windows-compatible software.
"If you look at how we design the service end-to-end, we learned from that last year of usability," Kevin Unangst, global director of Windows gaming, told Ars. "Gamers wanted the interface to be more Windows-like. It should be easy to navigate with a mouse and keyboard; it should look like a Windows application."
The new interface is more tightly integrated into the games, making it not only more pleasing to the eye, but also more functional. Improved speed of the interface and improved access to the various community features of the Live platform make the new interface a vast improvement over the old one.
There are a number of benefits to the new Games for Windows Live interface—some that make the system even better than the new Xbox dashboard. The keyboard and mouse have a significant impact on the interface design: users can easily click through menu tiers and type messages to friends directly, without the cumbersome and slow interface for text input on the 360.
The Marketplace, which will position Microsoft to compete with digital distribution services like Steam and Greenhouse, is set to go live in the next few weeks. In addition to downloadable titles, the Marketplace will also feature downloadable content for the supported games, just as the Xbox Live Marketplace does for Xbox games. Bethesda, creators of Fallout 3, is one studio that intends to support the Marketplace when it launches with premium content for its recently-released RPG.
Read more at the source.
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