About time! On November 15, Microsoft will begin selling about 100 Windows PC games directly online.
Today, Microsoft’s Games for Windows Marketplace is bizarre: an online site that requires you to download special software first before you can download any games.
It focuses on a handful of Windows games that can connect to the Xbox Live service. The scenario of head-to-head gaming between PC and Xbox users is interesting in theory, but requires special PC software and is burdened with the absolutely awful name of “Games for Windows – LIVE.” As a result, a lot of gaming enthusiasts aren’t even aware that the service exists.
The updated Games for Windows Marketplace will let users buy and download games with their Web browser, as you’d expect to be able to do. It will launch with titles like Grand Theft Auto III, and will eventually become the primary online distribution point for the PC version of game franchises like Halo, Fable, and Flight Simulator (which still has its hardcore fans). Game publishers can also get special dedicated pages on the site, so users can check out their favourite games from publishers like Rockstar.
Microsoft doesn’t make much money from selling PC games, and it’s spent a lot of money and energy building up the Xbox business. But die-hard PC gamers tend to buy high-end boxes running the latest versions of Windows. So promoting PC gaming still makes good business sense.