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PC Games (Games) Operating Systems Software Windows

How 'Games for Windows' Will Change PC Gaming 392

Posted by Zonk
from the branding-makes-the-grass-grow-brand-brand-brand dept.
Joystiq has a short piece up talking with Windows (GFW) Marketing Director Kevin Unangst and PR Manager Michael Wolf about the future of the 'Games for Windows' initiative. With the launch of Vista, Microsoft is making a big push to turn PC games into a 'console-like' cohesive brand. Instead of relying on the good name of individual publishers to sell titles, Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo. Along with the new gamer-centric features in Vista, and the tie-in to Xbox 360 with 'Live Anywhere', this is meant to reinvigorate the PC games market for the sometimes not-so-savvy consumer. From the article: "By making gaming a priority in the Vista experience, Microsoft is molding a powerful pairing of the Games for Windows and Xbox 360 brands. To some extent, this is based on a hope that Live Anywhere will be embraced by GFW developers and publishers, pulling Xbox Live (and your Gamertag) outside of the 'Box, in turn encouraging an unrivaled virtual community. But there are simpler touches that also spark our interest. For example, start up Vista's Minesweeper, connect your 360 controller, and enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up. It's the melding with the familiar that will drive new and lost consumers to the Games for Windows brand."
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How 'Games for Windows' Will Change PC Gaming

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  • Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book. An XBox Live system for the PC+XBox would be welcome too.
    • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:34PM (#17292164) Homepage Journal
      Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book.

      But ultimately that would just turn PC gaming into second-rate consoles.

      Personally I'd like to see the exact opposite -- PC gaming that is more appropriate for a PC. For instance windowed gaming: There are a tremendous number of games that can only play in fullscreen mode, yet I like the ability to hop between applications without a time sucking, crash-inducing schism, not to mention that I like to see all of my other windows.
      • Personally I'd like to see the exact opposite -- PC gaming that is more appropriate for a PC. For instance windowed gaming:

        The only game I can think of at the moment that really makes use of a windowing environment is Angband [thangorodrim.net]. Ironically, most versions use ASCII graphics.

        The basic versions I've seen tend to have one 80x24 window for the map, another for the inventory, etc.

      • by Randolpho (628485) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:08PM (#17292804) Homepage Journal
        I would also like to see more "light" games that are less graphic-intense and more *gameplay* oriented.

        However, the two are not going to be mixed anytime soon. Windowed games are going to be less performant, simply because you're going to be operating your desktop at a much higher resolution than you're going to be playing your game (unless you have an uber-card that can do 1900x1440 at 120fps, in which case your game window might not *fit* on your desktop).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by duguk (589689)
        Heres a couple of games you might enjoy (Physics related stuff) that should run on any PC and do work in a window: In fact you can easily jump in and out of them whilst playing.

        I only mention them as I expect its the kind of games the /. crowd may enjoy

        Armadillo Run [armadillorun.com] - Physics-based puzzle game. You have to build structures with the purpose of getting an armadillo to a certain point in space.
        Ballance [ballance.org] - Fight against the force of gravity! Face dizzying heights and plummeting depths. Steer a ball through
    • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:37PM (#17292214)
      Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book. An XBox Live system for the PC+XBox would be welcome too.

      Honestly, I think Microsoft has the right idea except they're only 10 years too late. 10 years ago, in the wake of Window's 95, everyone wanted someone to make PC gaming a more user friendly experience that didn't require endless patches and work to play games; today if people want something that is inexpensive and easily plays games they're going to buy a console without even considering a PC.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        everyone wanted someone to make PC gaming a more user friendly experience that didn't require endless patches and work to play games; today if people want something that is inexpensive and easily plays games they're going to buy a console without even considering a PC.

        Ah, but with the online capabilities of the latest generation of consoles, the joy of endless patching is coming to consoles too. You ain't seen nothing yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ucklak (755284)
        No, they did this 10 years ago - they're just folowing SOP, rehash what's been done but call it new.

        Gaming 10 years ago (specifically for Windows) had online communities. Remember DOOM? Duke Nukem? The Star Wars games?

        When IE4 hit the playing field, coupled with the Zone (the MS online community) it was a booming community.

        This is just market spin to keep mindset so that the Windows platform is synonymous with games and gamers will not venture off elsewhere.

        The casual gamer does not care what platform he
      • by trawg (308495) on Monday December 18, 2006 @08:46PM (#17295464) Homepage
        10 years ago, in the wake of Window's 95, everyone wanted someone to make PC gaming a more user friendly experience that didn't require endless patches and work to play games
        Windows 95 onwards made life WAY easier to play games. Remember dicking around with autoexec.bat and config.sys trying to get enough free memory to load games back in the day?!? I sure do.

        Windows made my life much easier in terms of game playing. Patching games is a whole different problem and comes down to how developers handle patches. Some of them have a clue and get it right most of the time, but some of them are STILL utterly clueless. Some of them expect you to download a 500mb patch for a minor version update. Some of them expect you to pick between 8 different updates from various previous versions for a 2mb patch. Augh!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DarthVain (724186)
          I hear you brother! I laugh my ass of anytime I hear from people having a "hard time" running games on their new computers, or buy Mac's as PC's are too "hard" to use...

          I remember trying to game on my only 286... now that was freakin' hard.... I remember making batch files of batch files, messing withg EMS, XMS, and whatever other crazy memory BS , not to mention the CGA, EGA, VGA, stuff going on.... making boot disks for each particular game, just so it would load properly, all the while installing somethi
    • It will never be done right under windows though.
  • by GodHead (101109) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:29PM (#17292086) Homepage
    Brilliant stragety. Worked wonders for the borg.

    Until that one lady captain made them emo.

  • oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

    by SydBarrett (65592) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:32PM (#17292122)
    Forget Minesweeper, I want multiplayer solitaire with voice chat.

    • Re:oh boy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MooseMuffin (799896) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:40PM (#17292258)
      Is it just me, or is minesweeper with a controller horribly unappealing? Its a timed game, with small little boxes to click. A gamepad doesn't seem up to the challenge. Especially since there will be a mouse already attached connected to the computer.
      • Re:oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

        by David Nabbit (924807) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:13PM (#17292868) Journal

        Is it just me, or is minesweeper with a controller horribly unappealing? Its a timed game, with small little boxes to click. A gamepad doesn't seem up to the challenge. Especially since there will be a mouse already attached connected to the computer.
        It doesn't say that you use the controller to play minesweeper. You just use the mouse, put the controller somewhere else, and "enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up."
  • New and lost? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:35PM (#17292178)
    "It's the melding with the familiar that will drive new and lost consumers to the Games for Windows brand."

    So they have given up on all the current gamers, eh?

    Besides that amazingly stupid thing to say, which I'm sure was more of a slip-of-the-tongue-while-trying-imitate-Nintendo, PC games have always been wildly different. Trying to make them somehow the same by making them all use the same box design is crazy. (Same meaning moreso than they already are, considering they are all the same shape and size, etc etc.) Requiring the logos to be the same spot, and the requirements in the same spot, etc etc will only stifle the creativity of the box designers. It will not somehow create a community for pc gamers that didn't exist before and draw in people that have been resistant to PC gaming.

    Those people DO NOT CARE.

    If you can build a Wiimote for PC and not get sued, THEN you can probably get some non-gamers to care. (Or another suitably wonderful and fun controller.)
    • by bhodikhan (894485) * on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:54PM (#17292538)
      Maybe a Wimote shaped like a small chair? A least Balmer would have something to throw around while he's playing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GodInHell (258915) *
      If you have to link into Live and use the features of Live (sorry gamespy) they might get me to pay attention when I look at a game. "Will this game support pain-free multiplayer set-up? Yehp, it's got that logo thing.. good to go."

      -GiH
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        Yeah, as I just said in the other reply, I didn't RTFA. This GfW campaign isn't what the summary says at all. This looks like something worthwhile after all.
    • Re:New and lost? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LionKimbro (200000) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:52PM (#17293518) Homepage
      They're not talking about those people.

      Most likely, they're talking about the rapidly-growing "casual gamers" crowd.

      They want a super-smooth and polished purchase, install, and play path for casual gamers. They want an experience as reliable and smooth as that of purchasing a game for a console, but for a computer with Windows installed.

      On a console, the hardware is basically identical. The OS software is basically identical. The controllers are standardized, and perfectly regular.

      There is never any ambiguity, in a Nintendo Wii game, about what the "(A)" button refers to, and what the "[B]" button refers to. The same on a PS2 controller, with an X, a triangle, and so on. The game developers know exactly how everything is laid out.

      There are never install problems, you just put the disk in, and it works. If it doesn't work, it's because the disk is bad. There are very simple decision trees at work here.

      When you're in the store, looking for the Wii games, there's no difficulty finding them. Not only are the sectioned, but all the titles have the same look and feel. Hoards of consumer psychologists have found out that Brands Work.

      They want to make it possible for there to be "Windows Games," which work on Windows just like N64 games work on an N64. Platform, platform, platform.

      It's a sensible strategy.

      They're not talking about games that hard core gamers play. They're not talking about your community. They are talking about a super-fast growing market segment. Businesses love super-fast growing markets, it's where all the action in determining what the landscape will look like is. Things that don't grow are basically set in their patterns, and change is only made very slowly, unless the market is being torn apart by some obsoleting force.
      • Re:New and lost? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:59PM (#17293614)
        Until I read your post, I had not considered that the summary might be completely stupid. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

        Basically, when it said "Instead of relying on the good name of individual publishers to sell titles, Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo." I think it meant it. There's nothing like that in the article. Nothing.

        Instead, the article is about a 'branding' scheme by Microsoft where they will certify that the game meets certain standards and functionality, and can wear their logo in return.

        I'm interested in that.

        I was not at all interested in MS making every single game publisher wear their logo if they want it to work on Vista, with nothing in return for said Monopoly.

        I should have RTFA.
        • Re:New and lost? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:35AM (#17297044) Journal
          Something else exciting, system liscencing for games.

          $1 per game ring any bells...

          There's no more reason console developers should get it than games designed for directX.

          It's going to take about 2-3 years before they'll be able to sensibly enforce it.

          2-3 years after that the golden age of linux gaming can begin.
      • Re:New and lost? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dagamer34 (1012833) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:44PM (#17294224)
        You've nailed it right on the head. The reason why I don't even bother with PC games even though I DO have a decent graphics card is that it requires way too much tweaking and jumping through hoops to get a decent play experience. You either have to spend $500+ on a video card or wait until decent video cards are cheap before running a game well than came out 6 months ago. What developers really need to do is to make their games AWARE of the state of the computer. If a game is only running at 25FPS because HDR is on, give a cue to turn it off. What would be really nice is a to have a playtest of your system for 5 minutes or so and then have the game figure out what settings would be best to maintain 30FPS (for eye-candy) or 60FPS (for smooth framerates).
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Nasarius (593729)
          Fact is, many games will auto-detect your hardware and give recommended settings. The problem is that the settings either can't be adjusted low enough to achieve decent performance, or if they can, it ends up looking WORSE than the previous generation. See Oblivion vs. Morrowind on a GeForce FX card. Morrowind looks beautiful and runs smoothly. Oblivion needs to use the very lowest settings to run faster than a slideshow, at which point it looks more like Daggerfall than Morrowind. And it still doesn't run
      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        given the hardware requirements for Vista, any machine capable of running that should be able to run every game on the market.

        The only thing I use windows for is games, so I'm all for an effort to improve gaming on the platform. I don't fancy the idea of an xbox live type thing though, I'm a very solitary gamer, Caesar 4 is as close as I like to get to online gaming.
    • by The-Bus (138060)

      Requiring the logos to be the same spot, and the requirements in the same spot, etc etc will only stifle the creativity of the box designers.

      I think the customers are more important than the box designer. If anything, it's simple design. I would like to see gaming publishers act more like CD and movie publishers: release games on Tuesdays, not whenever they ship. While a $30-$60 console/handheld game may not be an easy impulse purchase like a CD or movie, it makes sense for new games to be out on that day, and not on some unknown schedule that relies on shipping routes.

      • Not only that, but I don't really care that a designer's creativity is stifled when he comes to place the specs or whatever. The artwork will still be original, the title will be displayed... Who cares?
  • by sehlat (180760) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:37PM (#17292216)
    "Trust us."
  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:38PM (#17292228)
    This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yah think?

      One of the top reasons people cite when they reconsider moving to another platform is the unavailability of the games they like, or the reality that the games don't become available until months later. That's an advantage MS would like to preserve. Every game written for DirectX 10 / Vista rather than OpenGL / multiplatform is a step in that direction, and every effort to make OpenGL a second-class 3D API on Vista is too.
    • by Kelson (129150) *
      That's an interesting point. Would a Windows/Mac game (packaged in one box) be eligible for the "Games for Windows" label? Or would the studio have to choose between separate packaging and forgoing the premium brand?
    • This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.

      Thank you, Captain Obvious.

      Now tell me how you get retail display space for Linux games when there isn't a baseline hardware and software configuration for the home market like a PC with the Vista Premium sticker.

      Customer: "Will this thing run Oblivion?"
      Sales Clerk: "Go right ahead and crank everything you like up to the max. You are good to go."
      Customer: "That is all I

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:39PM (#17292242)
    The whole games for Windows isn't introducing a whole lot. The ratings system to compare your hardware to game requirements is great, but not for me, i can read the requirements and know what my system can and can't do, but good for teh newb. I can't imagine hooking up a 360 controller to my PC as one of the features of PC gaming over consoles is the fact that a PC gets to use a mouse/kb and the console is stuck with a controller. The joy of getting a rumble cause I messed up in Minesweeper isnt' go to hit me as it's not very likely that I'm going to play minesweeper. I dunno about this, I thought the new Direct X was really the only interesting thing about gaming in the MS world.
  • Windows games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RichPowers (998637) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:39PM (#17292244)
    Of course MS wants to emphasize gaming on their OS. Many people, myself included, would never touch Windows again if it weren't for the games... But I find this stupid: "To earn the GFW brand, a title must comply with certain Microsoft-tested specifications, including ... compatibility with the Xbox 360 controller." Another example of MS bullying game publishers to adopt its standards. Do all PC gamers have an Xbox or like its controller? Why not other PC-only gamepads that might work better? Besides, what true gamer would limit their FPS experience with a friggn' console controller? But simplifying install (and uninstall) and system reqs makes sense. Too bad it took so damn long.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jarlsberg (643324)
      I've been running games on the PC for at least twenty years, and I've tried a shitload of gamepads. In all that time, none has been decent. Not a single one. I'm quite happy about MS finally forcing a standard here. The Xbox controller is a hell of a lot better than decent, and it's not hard for Logitech or any other producer to create a pad using the X360-controllers control scheme.

    • Coder: I am not going to dumb down mouse control in my games to make it GFW compatible.
      PHB: If the game is GFW compatible we will sell more so do it!
    • Re:Windows games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PygmySurfer (442860) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:06PM (#17292776)
      I think one of the reasons they're targeting the Xbox 360 controller is because of the mess that exists currently. Currently, button assignments differ wildly for gamepads. I think Microsoft is hoping Logitech and other vendors will adopt a similar layout, at least with regards to the naming of the buttons, etc. It also gives developers something to target as well, so that one game doesn't have the fire button as button 1, while another has it on button 7, because the developers tested with a controller from different manufacturers. That would even help with current games, because at least the gamer is going to get the same button configuration between games.

      Besides, what true gamer would limit their FPS experience with a friggn' console controller?

      I don't think MS is going to remove the ability for developers to target the keyboard and mouse, I think they just want the gamepad to work as well, which isn't too bad of an idea - giving the user a choice is always a good idea.
      • by Sparr0 (451780)
        You think different buttons is bad... Try a gamepad with analog buttons. Does it count as a press if you push the button in 1/65536th of the way?
    • Re:Windows games (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:08PM (#17292800) Homepage
      Yep.

      I'm pretty sure that everyone I know, friends and family alike, would drop Windows for Linux in a heartbeat if the following two conditions were met:

      1. Device manufacturers (especially printer, scanner, and other external device manufacturers) started shipping easy-to-install Linux drivers on a CD.

      2. All new games ran on Linux

      That's it.

      They'd switch to OSX, for that matter, given that the above conditions were met for it. Satisfy those two requirements, and Windows either dies or is forced to change (and probably get MUCH cheaper) to make itself relevant.

      Those two items are the only things maintaining Windows' dominance. The OS would become about as relevant as MS-DOS were it to lose those two exclusivities; that is, it would be a legacy OS. MS probably knows this, and the last thing they want is for the hardware or gaming markets to become more open to other operating systems. This move has nothing to do with anything but locking in the gaming market, no matter what PR they come up with to promote it.
      • by Nasarius (593729)
        I really don't think businesses care about #2, and #1 can almost always be controlled by avoiding certain hardware. The real problem is sheer momentum. There's a ton of software that's only written for Windows, because the relevant businesses only run Windows. And they only run Windows because that's what the software requires. If you break that circle, *then* Windows's dominance might end. Games don't really factor into it.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:06PM (#17293704)
        Those two items are the only things maintaining Windows' dominance. The OS would become about as relevant as MS-DOS were it to lose those two exclusivities; that is, it would be a legacy OS.

        Oh, totallllly. Cause, you know, all those corporations that use Windows as their standardized desktop, e-mail serving, PIM, and databasing solutions, not to mention the OEM contracts that Dell, gateway, IBM, etc have with Microsoft account for like, what, 2% of total sales for Windows? Most Windows users are DEFINITELY home users and not corporate users looking for a unified office computing environment. And, pft, government DEFINITELY doesn't use windows in the majority of it's offices and computing environments. So, like, if microsoft DIDN'T focus on the gaming/home user market, they TOTALLY would fail as a company. Definitely the volume of gaming titles and factory compatibility with new hardware is the ONLY thing keeping Windows relevant in the modern business world. The ONLY thing. For sure. Definitely. you're TOTALLY right. COMPLETELY right. One Hundred and Ten Percent right. Yup.
      • by Sefert (723060)
        I think this is very insightful. Unlike one of the trolls that replied to you - gamers drive change. They're usually running the latest computers and the latest software, and they're the ones getting hit up around the water cooler for advice. Even by the boss. I used to be an I.T. guy for years, maintaining a large multicity WAN, and I probably would've used more linux in that network setup had I been more comfortable with it. But - all my education was MS based. Would I have pushed to get put on Lin
    • Of course MS wants to emphasize gaming on their OS. Many people, myself included, would never touch Windows again if it weren't for the games... But I find this stupid: "To earn the GFW brand, a title must comply with certain Microsoft-tested specifications, including ... compatibility with the Xbox 360 controller."

      Um, why? That's just plain stupid. While, certainly, console-style controllers including the (IMO, poor among the console options) Xbox 360 controller, are perhaps good for some kinds of games,

  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by ipooptoomuch (808091) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:40PM (#17292264) Journal
    I have waited almost ten years for them to put rumble support into minesweeper! oh boy!!! I can barely contain myself.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:42PM (#17292294)

    This is your wake up call. MS intends to leverage their OS monopoly to give themselves and advantage in the gaming console market. This also provides another layer of defense around their core, OS monopoly. This is bad news for all of you, Nintendo, Sony, and Apple. They're also trying to build out DirectX tools to make the PC and Xbox a one stop shop. This is their classic strategy and it works, unless the existing players form a good, open standards based partnership. You're all influential OpenGL houses. You all have a vested interest here. Sony has already moved towards making OpenGL models key to their gaming platform. Now is the time for all of you to abandon trying to build lock-in strategies in this field and start making a concerted effort to interoperate. Build a game development toolset that makes OpenGL games on Windows, PS3, Wii, and the Mac a single entity. Beat MS at their own game. Give Blizzard and Id a call. You've got one shot at this guys, and if you fail your media enterprises are going to be easy targets. Get to it!

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      the thing is, everyone wants to be M$ with regards to the OS and game market, they all want to lock people in so that they can't leave. Even the nice guys of the market won't open up everything. Just leave those damn closed source games for PCs - you have genuine choice here in a way that you don't do with consoles. Look at all the great open source games that are out there;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open_source_ g ames [wikipedia.org] - nexuiz is ace, but you're not just limited to FPSs, get nethack aswell...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        the thing is, everyone wants to be M$ with regards to the OS and game market, they all want to lock people in so that they can't leave.

        Sure they do, but if they're trying it while going up against a company that has a monopoly they can leverage they'll lose. Sony is part of a cartel and has some leverage to bring to bear. Apple has a near monopoly on iPods they can exploit (and nothing to lose from interoperability). Even so, unless they work together to take shares in a competitive market, they'll fall

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spikeles (972972)
      Dammit! Stop comparing DirectX to OpenGL!!!! You can't!! If you are going to compare OpenGL to something compare it to Direct3D
      • Stop comparing DirectX to OpenGL!!!! You can't!! If you are going to compare OpenGL to something compare it to Direct3D

        I didn't compare the two, I made mention of them as parts of development toolkits. Neither of them constitutes such a toolkit in and of itself, but they are recognizable to the average reader, while mentioning SDL and the like and Direct3D results in a bunch of irrelevant questions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! This is your wake up call. MS intends to leverage their OS monopoly to give themselves and advantage in the gaming console market.

      Oh no! Microsoft intends to leverage their OS monopoly in the game market, by introducing consistent labeling and experience for Windows games in Vista! Shit! The world's lost!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:17PM (#17292928)
      ... Looking back, most industry executives agreed that the singular moment that brought the "Consortium of the Willing" together was a lone post on what was then just another Internet forum, and not the brain center for the world government it is today: "The post from '99 [99BottlesOfBeerInMyF] really just got things started," says Steve Jobs, "Up until then we were kind of sitting around wondering what to do with all these piles of money we had. We knew about Microsoft and games, but we didn't have a direction to go in." John Carmack of id Software and Rocketry Superstores agrees: "It wasn't so much what he said - we figured it out pretty easily as things got started - but it was the way he said it. 'Get to it!' Man...still sends a shiver down my spine. 'Get to it!'. We weren't getting to it before, and then, after that post it was like 'ok, we need to get to it and get this done.' And that's what we did." Coming up next on Behind the Games: the fall of Microsoft, and '99's battle with fame and amphetamines.
    • For the most part this is really a non-issue for most game developers ...

      With the exception of Massive studios, most games that are developed licence a game engine from a third party vendor; large developers will choose the Doom 3, Unreal 3, or Source Engine while smaller studios will look for something less expensive (and most indies moving towards Torque or open source engines). The fact that Microsoft has made cross platform development for the XBox 360 and PC easier only means that Epic will require les
      • With the exception of Massive studios, most games that are developed licence a game engine from a third party vendor; large developers will choose...

        This is true, but not all games use one of the cross-platform engines, and not all games can run on an existing engine. This move does not target existing players in the market, most of whom presumably have the sense to maintain portability. This targets new development shops that want to get started on the cheap. Every year there are dozens of mostly unsucc

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:42PM (#17292308) Homepage Journal
    I'm predicting this will fail.

    True, 2007 will not be the Year of Desktop Linux, but that's only because most people who won't buy Vista have no need to replace their old computers yet. Most of us will be moving games onto Mac or consoles, and abandoning the Windows desktop or laptop.
  • Changes little (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:50PM (#17292460)
    "Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo."

    The inclusion of a distinctive logo doesn't change the need to turn the box over and read the fine print for "required" and "reccomended" hardware to play the game. Console gaming works because a Wii is a Wii is a Wii.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Nasarius (593729)
      Absolutely. What would be interesting if there was a certain minimum performance (say, 40fps average, never dropping below 30fps for more than a second) required for a minimum hardware spec. So if your hardware is GFW-certified and the game is GFW-certified, you know it won't run/look like crap. That would be worth doing.
      • Re:Changes little (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Phisbut (761268) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:44PM (#17293396)
        Absolutely. What would be interesting if there was a certain minimum performance (say, 40fps average, never dropping below 30fps for more than a second) required for a minimum hardware spec. So if your hardware is GFW-certified and the game is GFW-certified, you know it won't run/look like crap. That would be worth doing.
        That couldn't work. On a Windows PC, the hardware is not the only thing that detemines the FPS you get in the game. You musn't forget the horde of spyware, viruses and other malware running in the background eating up memory and CPU.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PygmySurfer (442860)
      I think the System Rating in Vista is supposed to assist with this - when you install Vista it assigns your system a rating, I believe games are supposed to be labelled with the minimum System Rating required to play them. Sure, it's not as simple as a console game that's going to just work, but it's better than before.
    • a Wii is a Wii is a Wii.
      +1, Inevitable Parent to Lots of "+5, Funny" posts.
    • by Valacosa (863657)
      The inclusion of a distinctive logo doesn't change the need to turn the box over and read the fine print for "required" and "reccomended" hardware to play the game. Console gaming works because a Wii is a Wii is a Wii.
      I disagree, I think this will work. Running Vista will take more RAM and hardware acceleration than the next generation of video games.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:56PM (#17292590)
    Pc gamers may not like have to pay for live to get online play with pc games and that also means
    NO MODS when playing online.
    Being forced to use M$ servers for on line play would be a bad thing.

    ID software games may be forced to drop mac, linux, and opengl If they want to be part of this.
  • by andphi (899406) <phillipsam@gmail. c o m> on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:57PM (#17292610) Journal
    Why don't they just call it, "You really should own an XBox 360. Go buy one"?

    FTFA: "Computer Gaming World was also renamed as Games For Windows to help drive Microsoft's new brand."

    Also, it's good to know there's another gaming rag I can safely ignore.

    In summation, I really enjoy watching people I don't trust announce what they'll do to shove things I don't want down my throat.

  • By doing this you can make all the games the same size and possibly smaller then they are now. The big advantage of console games is they fit into such a small space you can fit many times more games then you can the large unwieldy boxes PC games still come in. While this is somewhat of a security measure I think the corporations at large would be willing to trade a higher theft risk vs being able to put out more games.

    Maybe with this change the EB games near me will have more then just a small off-cente
  • by Tom (822) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:22PM (#17293032) Homepage Journal
    So MS is once again leveraging it's monopoly on the desktop to gain market share where they can't dominate without (game consoles). Wasn't there an antitrust case or something?
  • ...would be a headline from 1995, or possibly something circa 1989... NOT 2007. Microsoft needs to get its head out of its ass, and realize that people are not going to see Vista as a revolutionary new tool that will change their lives. NO operating system has ever been THAT important to layman. Even Windows 95, as big as it was, changed gaming only slightly... most game developers, back then, still prefered to code for DOS, as they could get more power out of it. It wasn't until about a third into the life
  • I am sort of hoping that with the PS3's use of open standards (sorry for the marketspeak), games would be relatively easily ported to Linux. Sony could release a set of libraries, and make porting games from PS3 to any system, including Linux or Mac, reasonably easy. Changing includes and optimizations and target system in your makefile, and without too much trouble, you have a game for all platforms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Zorque (894011)
      I agree. Sony is trying to lose money these days, why not take it a step further?
  • Wait--Microsoft wants me to spend $2K on a PC running Vista so I'll have a better gaming platform? Personally I have no desire to upgrade to Vista. XP works just fine plus there are no worries about DRM or Microsoft's wonky securtiy code.

    Has M$ done something to prevent a USB mouse and keyboard from being plugged into the XBox360? Why isn't the future of PC gaming a console with a mouse and keyboard?
  • I love it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <{su.narima} {ta} {niwrehs}> on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:42PM (#17293366) Homepage Journal
    For years, we (tin hat specialists?) have been yelling that tying your games to DirectX = being swallowed by the MS behemoth. MS described DirectX as a (superior) API to existing technologies.

    Now, finally, I feel vindicated. "Games for Windows" games will get all kinds of features that won't work on non-"Games for Windows" games.

    Hopefully, this will be make OpenGL, OpenAL, SDL, etc. . . look even better (as they've been rapidly improving of late) in comparison to the DirectX suite of APIs.
  • by ActiveNick (1039446) on Monday December 18, 2006 @05:55PM (#17293562)
    Seriously? Yes, I'm a Microsoft MVP, yes I'm a software architect who specializes in Microsoft .NET technologies, yes I'm a big Windows gamer, I also have an Xbox and an Xbox 360, I'm an Xbox Live subscriber, so yes, you can call me a fanboi. But it amazes me to see that in the eyes of so many readers here, Microsoft can do no right. Whatever they do, you'll see the glass half-empty. Sure they tried gaming on Windows before and the MPC spec too, and it did not work. It does not mean the idea is bad, it means the implementation is. Look at pen computing: since the late 80's many companies (other than Microsoft) tried to push for pen computing and failed utterly, whereas Microsoft decided to take a crack at it and was very successful with the Tablet PC. Sometimes the approach has to change, not the idea. Ask any entrepreneur, they know. I'm happy this is coming to Games for Windows. do not need a nice box and I can easily read specs, but I also recognize that common folks (not everyone is a geek like us guys) will find it useful, and the extra testing will only help quality. And so what if Microsoft uses their Windows dominance to help the Xbox? Look at Sony... 70% of the console market and they cannot innovate beyond a faster CPU and they have such an arrogant attitude. And if Linux is supposed to be an alternative to Windows, then it needs to have what it takes. If you say "I only play on Windows because Linux has no hardware drivers and no games, it means there is no market for these. Linux still has to get a lot better for it to be used by average folks at home on their desktops. It is a great server OS, but it just does not cut it for desktops, and to beat Microsoft, you have to build something better, no destroy Redmond. I'm open to a discussion here, but please ask yourself, is there anything that Microsoft could do as a business that would ever please you? Honestly?
    • is there anything that Microsoft could do as a business that would ever please you? Honestly?

      To paraphrase the animatrix: Surrender your code and you will enjoy a new life of the mind. You have no choice.

      While I think that the only way for them to prevent a repeat of past abuses is to GPL their code, most people would be happy if they would just quit trying to FUCK EVERYONE. You know, stop threatening to sue everyone, shoving formats onto media, quit the drive to "trusted computing" where everyone mu

    • by Tony (765) * on Monday December 18, 2006 @10:38PM (#17296254) Journal
      If you say "I only play on Windows because Linux has no hardware drivers and no games, it means there is no market for these.

      Microsoft has destroyed the market for Linux by disallowing Microsoft OEMs from shipping other operating systems (SEE BeOS, for instance). Microsoft fucks over other people, including their customers, just to maintain dominance.

      That's why I hate Microsoft. If they played fairly, I wouldn't mind their incompetence and terrible products so much. But, since that's they only way they can survive, I guess I shouldn't hold it against them.
  • I own two Logitech iFeel force feedback mice (don't bother, they've been discontinued for a while) that would be ideal for something like this. I'd rather use one of those for Minesweeper than an Xbox 360 controller. Unreal Tournament was pretty fun with them. Too bad that more games didn't support it.

    Granted I haven't been in the PC gaming scene for a while but I thought that the main draw was things like lots of RAM, decent graphics cards, a hard driver, and its unique keyboard/mouse controllers. Sinc
  • Hardware Rating (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:23PM (#17293926) Journal
    If they want to pull this off, one thing they will absolutely have to do is make available for download some sort of non-geek friendly equivalent of 3DMark so that people who don't know the make and model of every component in their PC can just run a quick test and get a list of all the games they can currently run and possibly what they need in order to run LatestKillerGame 2008 or whatever, as well as hardware compatibility testing and a guided, centralized driver, BIOS, etc. upgrade system. So long as you have to know a dozen different numbers, from GPU to RAM speed to Processor family to Driver Version, as well as digging through archaic hardware manufacturer support sites and mysterious newsgroups to make sure that you don't end up with a dud even though your hardware exceeds the spec (Ubisoft / NVidia, I'm looking at you) because drivers are clashing and all involved parties are sitting on one hand and using the other to point a finger at somebody else instead of fixing it, PC gaming will simply never compare to console. Granted, I use a console maybe twice a month compared to gaming on PC nearly daily, but there's just no way in hell most of my console-gamer friends could hope to sift through the mess.
  • by mqduck (232646)
    My only real worry here is that PC game makers will start trying to make their PC games with the "console-player" in mind. See Deus Ex [wikipedia.org] versus Deus Ex 2 [wikipedia.org]. I still cry when I think about the second one.
  • Familiar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Perseid (660451) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:47PM (#17294260)
    "Designed for Windows XP"
    "Games for Windows."

    Looks like they're really the same thing. And the summary is wrong. Redmond isn't forcing anything. If you want to have the GFW brand on your package you have to follow a set of rules, just like Designed For Windows 95. And I can still release a game for the PC that is whatever I want rules be damned. I won't get the GFW banner but MS can't stop me from releasing my game.
  • Live Anywhere, eh? Didn't we hear a similar marketing warcry from them a couple years ago?

    Oh, right: "Plays for Sure."

    Hopefully this'll play out just as well for them.

  • by Lashat (1041424) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:57PM (#17294398)
    Developing a KBM for Xbox360 is a must for any solution to be a success. I have seen a few posts already here on the subject of KBM control being one of the most significant advantages to PC gaming. Being a fan of games on both platforms and knowing many games experienced with both platforms the opinion is universal. The KBM user will always have an advantage over the controllers, some exceptions might be in racing and the less evolved "questing" games. No FPS games believes that they have more precise aming or agile movement with a console controller. Try playing Lord of the Rings:Strategy with the controller, you will cry for a mouse. Even the 360 chatting features would benefit from a KBM solution. Imagine being forced to use a virtual scrolling keyboard to type any messages to game allies and friends. I would rather style my hair with a steel bristle brush while chewing on aluminum foil and playing "This little piggie" with Kris Kristofferson and his lackey wielding the 14-pound sledge hammer.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday December 18, 2006 @07:43PM (#17294878)
    Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo. Along with the new gamer-centric features in Vista, and the tie-in to Xbox 360 with 'Live Anywhere', this is meant to reinvigorate the PC games market for the sometimes not-so-savvy consumer.

    The PC platform is not like the consoles in that it is not generally possible for the operating system vendor, Microsoft in this case, to exclude third parties from writing software for the platform. This has both positive and negative consequences as the experience of Microsoft has demonstrated (i.e. third parties producing poor quality software which gives Microsoft Windows a bad name while at the same time giving more software choices on Microsoft Windows). I suppose that you could invent some logo scheme like "playsforsure" or "designed for windows" or "games for windows" or whatever and not allow use of the logo if the vendor will not play by the rules (combined with a FUD advertising campaign warning consumers about "untrusted" non-logo software), but how does this in any way help the consumer? People buy games because they hear about them from a friend or read about them in a gaming magazine, not because the game has some "games for windows" logo. The only place that I can see this making any difference is when grandma is at Walmart trying to purchase a "game" for her grandson and chooses "math blasters 2007" because it is a "game for windows" and it is educational so it has to be good right? Wrong.
  • by NullProg (70833) on Monday December 18, 2006 @08:08PM (#17295120) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft reinvigorated this household out of the PC games for the Windows market with its WGA spyware crap.

    Case in point (this experience is from 01, 2006. Maybe Microsoft has changed since then),
    Atari ships DX9 with Roller Coaster Tycoon Gold. It won't work under Windows 98SE/2000 with the latest Nvidia card without DX9c. Atari states the can't provide the update, you need it from Microsoft. Microsoft refuses to let you download the DX9c update because its WGA spyware thinks my original Win2000/Win98 systems are stolen. I've tried it several different boxes with different (unregistered) store bought copies of Win2k and Win98SE. All failed the WGA spyware check.

    Thats OK though, all our new kid games are for the PS2/Gamecube (and Wii soon). All the new purchased PC (PC means personal computer for the Microsoft folks) games are for Linux, I bought 8 games this year.

    So much for Win32/DirectX being compatible accross different Microsoft platforms.
    And Microsoft wonders why thier entertainment division revenue is flat. Its called treating your customers like shit.

    Enjoy,

  • by whorfin (686885) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:12PM (#17296494)
    I can't guarantee this, but I believe that I've purchased my last windows game already. It's consoles for me now, baybee.

    Gettng a PC rigged out for games is kinda pricey, every year or two I gotta get a new video card or sit in the back of the bus, and they're still not as fun as most console games. PC games tend to be solitary. Even when you're playing with others, you're alone. (Yes, I'm discounting the lan party, due to the microscopic size of that subculture)

    I'll just do without the games I can't play on a console.

    Anyway, this coming from somebody who has already spent far far too much of my life and money on PC gaming.
  • by master_p (608214) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @05:46AM (#17298284)
    The problem is not what Microsoft does, but what we, the community, do about Microsoft. Since MS has a good product, they have a right to sell it in any way they want, including word processors and games.

    But what has the open source community or other companies done all these years regarding gaming? is there an open source gaming library that covers all aspects of game programming and is cross-platform and easy to use? in other words, is there a Qt for gaming? nope, there is not. As there is not a simple yet powerful operating system (Linux is powerful but not simple), a powerful Office Package without bugs (Open Office has quite a lot of them) etc.

    Please don't tell me that it is the monopoly of Microsoft that determines the success of its products. It is simply the quality of the experience: Microsoft products offer the right quality for the right people (system admins many not be them though). Open source can do it; take Firefox for example: great open source success, because the product is of very high quality.

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