Games for Windows Live Strikes Again

Games for Windows Live Strikes Again

GFWL makes me feel like him.
GFWL makes me feel like him.

Three of the biggest PC releases from the past two weeks – Batman, Resident Evil and Red Faction – all have one thing in common, Games for Windows Live. Three of the biggest PC releases in the past couple of weeks all use Microsoft’s PC interpretation of the impressive Xbox 360 Live system. Surely this should be a great time for PC gaming with these top titles using a system designed to improve the gaming experience for PC users, unfortunately it is not so. Games for Windows Live is flawed, there is no denying it. The requirement to be signed into the service to save your progress in some titles is perhaps the most significant problem with the service. A good friend of mine had played two hours of Red Faction: Guerrilla recently, when he came to save his progress he was told he had to sign in to Live. He hit a problem when it turned out Live required updating, after following the update process hoping that he would then be able to save his progress he was informed his computer needed to restart for the update to be applied. Two hours of gameplay down the drain because Games for Windows Live doesn’t allow offline/online integration. My friend promptly uninstalled the game after releasing what had happened, and I am sure this is a problem that many others have experienced.

Personally I have had my fair share of problems with the service, most notably an inability to sign in to Live despite full internet connectivity and the correct log-in details. It is extremely frustrating to have to restart a game like Fallout 3 several times just to be able to access my saved games. This is coming from a service which lists, amongst others, ‘Quality’ as a key aspect of what the Games for Windows brand means. A quality service would not present so many problems to the user, a quality service would not require users to pay for DLC using Microsoft points when Steam allows you to, in some circumstances pay in your own currency, but at the end of the day using real money, not Microsoft points. For further analysis of the awful payment system, just read about Greg’s problems with Fallout 3 DLC.

The sad thing is that if you ignore that little word ‘Live’, Games for Windows is a great idea. It brings PC releases under a unified banner and helps to establish the importance of PC games in the wider gaming market, it also ensures that all titles released under the Games for Windows banner work on 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows, they support Xbox 360 Control pads and provide widescreen compatibility. It is hard to comprehend how the basic Games for Windows service promises so much, yet when the Live element is introduced so much trouble arises. In a world where Steam and Impulse offer almost everything Games for Windows Live does, and more in a much more user friendly environment with less problems it makes you wonder why developers insist on adding Live to their games. It doesn’t help us, the end users one bit. To top it all off Bioshock 2 will be using Games for Windows Live.

13 thoughts on “Games for Windows Live Strikes Again

  1. Actually a lot of GFW branded games have compatabily issues, no controller support and the like. A few examples are Call Of Duty: World At War (proper audio support wasn’t even added until patch 1.5), Stranglehold (no controller support), and Supreme Commander (no proper 64 bit support, originally limited to 2GB of memory). The quality control is extremely poor even. Honestly I think the whole division that manages it is basically a skeleton crew and a way for microsoft to save face about not putting out any new PC games anymore. Widescreen support is pretty much a given in any new release, GFW or not. The only thing that doesn’t have proper widescreen support is those awful PC sports games EA sports puts out.

  2. Pretty sure all 3 games inform the user that, if you dont sign in (with either an online OR offline profile, offline profile being so simple and quick to create), that you wont be able to save your game. Your friend needs to read :).

  3. Yes, using an offline profile solves most problems with GFW Live. The real problem is with multiplayer games like Dawn of War 2 and Section 8 where an offline profile is kind of pointless.

  4. Yeah completely agree with JimBob. Blame where blame is due. Its a no brainer and best practice to always update your software to the latest version. In this world of constant updates. new versions and patches, its no excuse to blame a system for the users shortcomings. Learn to READ or deal with the consequences, but please don’t bitch about it.

    Example :

    “A requester has just popped up on my screen asking if I want to format my HD, I click on something but I couldn’t be bothered to read what it said.. Man was I unhappy when my hard drive was formatted. That system is flawed man”


    RTFS !!

  5. I’d truly love to offer some intelligent response to this subject but when anyone speaks or types the words ‘games for windows live’, I’m overcome with a wailing and a gnashing of teeth and my vision turns red and Fbjhasfbh asasfnasas.sfasf


  6. Those comments about learning to read are insulting. Honestly, I believe that an intelligent gamer wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about gamerscore, preferring instead the ability to save offline, share game saves, and generally have the freedom to use his (or her) game and computer as he (or she) wishes.

    An intelligent gamer would realize that there is no compelling reason to require the player to sign into an online service to save a game offline, and would (in my case) be quite repulsed by the very idea. I share Jakkar’s sentiment. Live is insulting, irritating, infuriating, and intensely loathsome.

    I’m now going to continue to search the net for a way to crack Red Faction so I can play in peace.

  7. I can’t even crack the game, Sean. I bought it off of Steam, so I’ve gone ahead and deleted the entire game. At least I can play RF1 and 2.

    I have no idea why they couldn’t just use Steam’s system. Really, it feels like the further we go alone, the buggier and the less effort is being put into PC games. I mean, to this day there are still Xbox 360 controller visuals you can get in the PC version of Borderlands. I’m not endorsing them but sometimes I swear the developers bring the sheer number of pirates on themselves. I can understand not wanting your hard work being ripped off, but when you put in countermeasures that make it impossible for the actual buyer to play it but pirates easily bypass it, well you’re not making it easy for them to buy it. Add that to GFWL’s flat out buggy activity and poor attempt to turn the PC into the 360-controlled market and Microsoft’s made a recipe for a trainwreck-level catastrophe.

  8. The comments about learning to read are pointless insults. Just because there is a warning posted about Live having to be used to save the game doesn’t excuse Live from being such a terribly flawed system with no option to bypass it for offline play. I bought Batman: AA and after spending hours sorting everything out I discovered Live was causing my system to crash to a blue screen. The game runs flawlessly when bypassing Live. It’s completely updated and I don’t have the option to sign into an offline account because no matter how I use Live it crashes the OS. I’ve never had issues with Steam games so I’m pretty frustrated with this shoddy system that’s on all the new games.

  9. Moronic comment about reading aside;

    I have two games requiring windows live. I run WinXP and have a high end gaming system that runs every FPS I have tried.

    I am retired in Thailand and bought two legitimate and pricy games here. Bond 007 and recently, Section 8.

    I have had a windows live account for years, entered the info and it took it and told me I had to update to run. Pressed update. Took 45 minutes and then got message cannot update. Tried this twice.

    Same with bond 007 except no update required. Will not accept my windows live info.

    Time to check before buying I guess.

  10. The good news is that sequels to a lot of titles that were using GFWL aren’t going to be using it, Kane and Lynch 2 and Fallout New Vegas are the best examples. Hopefully more developers are realising the GFWL is a far inferior service to something like Steamworks.

  11. In Bond Quantum of Solace the only fix was to deleted IE8 just like a poster said. The game then started but wouldn’t recognize my Win live ID

    Trash new MS software to use MS live games.


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