Microsoft has made the decision to fuse its two online gaming portals and house them under one intuitive roof, Xbox.com. The news broke when a statement appeared on the Games for Windows homepage, explaining that the move is being implemented to consolidate the studio’s gaming services.
“Games for Windows Marketplace will fully transition over to Xbox.com,” reads the gaming service’s website. “Now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated and it’s a whole lot of great games.”
After confirming a July 11th release, a Microsoft representative reached out to Eurogamer, outlining some of the finer details of the transition.
All of the same content from GamesForWindows.com will be available on Xbox.com so members of communities across Xbox 360 and Games for Windows can purchase and get details on their favorite games, all in one place. All account information will remain the same and community members can still take advantage of their Xbox Live profile in their Windows games and stay connected to friends who are playing on the PC.
In an interview, Mike Delman, Microsoft’s Vice President of Global Marketing at Interactive Entertainment Business, revealed that Xbox LIVE would be headed to the Windows platform, potentially being the entertainment and gaming service for Windows 8. The announcement today to merge Games for Windows with Xbox is possibly the first step in bringing the Xbox LIVE brand across to the PC.
Historically, the Games for Windows LIVE brand haven’t been particularly strong, especially in comparison to Xbox LIVE. The network launched in 2006 to coincide with the release of Windows Vista. Since its creation, the service has faced stiff competition from platforms such as Steam and EA’s Origin. Microsoft has already brought Xbox LIVE to the Windows Phone platform, indicating that the “Xbox LIVE” brand is no longer confined to the gaming console, but rather a cross-platform service that spans across the PC, TV, and Mobile screens, realizing Microsoft’s “three screens and the cloud” dream. In fact, Microsoft has already announced that Xbox LIVE game saves and profiles will be stored on the cloud towards the end of this year. The next logical question is, when will we be finally seeing true cross-platform multiplayer games coming to Xbox LIVE?
What do you, fellow gamers, think? Are you sad to see Microsoft’s game distribution service go? Are there any advantages to merging the Games for Windows brand with Xbox.com? Sound off in the comments below!