Up in the air: What will happen when Games for Windows Live shuts down? | PCGamesN

Up in the air: What will happen when Games for Windows Live shuts down?

What will happen when Games for Windows Live shuts down

The end is almost in sight for the blighted Games for Window Live service, and there was much rejoicing. The Windows Live Marketplace shut down last year, and a now-deleted official post for Age of Empires Online stated that GfWL would be dead by July, and further implied the game would no longer be playable after that date. Microsoft has refused to comment on the matter, however, and that’s putting a lot of developers in a pickle.

Without an explanation from Microsoft, many studios are concerned that their titles will be effectively unplayable come July, and thus have begun the process of removing GfWL and adding Steamworks instead. Unfortunately, an even greater number of publishers have absolutely no plans to remove GfWL from some of their games, leaving them without online support and in some cases, potentially broken.

BioShock 2, Fallout 3, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City GOTYs switched over a while ago, though this has led to lost progress if you’re in the middle of a game. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon also implemented a patch removing GfWL just two days ago, allowing players to retain their saves.

Others, like Red Faction: Guerilla, DiRT 3, the F1 series and Super Street Fighter IV are planning on removing GfWL and either switching to Steamworks or implementing their own online service.

But that leaves countless other games out in the cold. Many of them, pretty big titles. Fable 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, Dead Rising 2, Resident Evil 5 - all games where the publisher has made no plans in regards to GfWL shutting down.

Namco Bandai are exploring options for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, but as of right now have no plans either, even though they have been asked countless times by players what will happen to their game, a game still being played by a substantial number of people today. 

So the good news about the demise of GfWL is tainted with the threat of games not working, online support becoming non-existent and the loss of save files - though there are apparently some work-arounds for the latter issue.

What’s even more concerning is that these games are still being sold. You can grab them right now, even though they might be unplayable very soon. With Microsoft refusing to even discuss the issue, countless consumers won’t even know that their purchases are at risk.    

And we’re getting ever closer to that big day. July 1st was revealed to be the shutdown date all the way back in September, giving Microsoft plenty of time to explain what’s happening, and yet it continues to be silent. 

Without confirmation about what exactly is going on, it makes sense that some publishers and developers have yet to plan for the end. A GfWL removal update and the hunt for an alternative costs time and money, and many of these games are long in the tooth or are simply no longer supported.

This whole mess highlights a concern that people have had ever since digital titles became the norm on PC: what happens when the service shuts down? And thanks to Microsoft, we don't know.

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xNuke avatarsubedii avatarCaptainWoopy avatarBelimawr avatarFistynuts avatarMr Schultz avatar+1
xNuke Avatar
4 Years ago

What will happen when Games for Windows Live shuts down?

Gamers around the world will be 10000000 times happier! GFWL is the worst crap we have to have in order to play. Biggest nuisance for players.

Bought a brand new game? Great, here's a milion things you have to do in order to play.

Downloaded a pirated copy of a game? Great, just start it up and play.

Mr Schultz Avatar
4 Years ago

Not surprising. Microsoft did the same thing with all OG Xbox online games, in one swoop. They are not interested in building long-term relationships with gamers.

Buy our newest product, consumer.

subedii Avatar
4 Years ago

I'd say with Microsoft, we _do_ know. We lose access.

Similar happened a while back when an MS digital certificate for Gears of War PC expired (why put a time limit on allowing people to play? Why not!). The game simply refused to run. It was only after people raised one massive fuss over on Epic's forums that this was later resolved in a patch.


It's always something to bear in mind, even with Steam. You don't have control of this stuff, and if you want to be able to keep it even past the date that the company ceases to be, well, the only store that I can think of that is respectful of this is DRM free GOG.com.

CaptainWoopy Avatar
4 Years ago

We will get our souls back, and besides that, I'm sure we can finally play games that we couldn't play them until that day. I still can't launch GTA IV because of that stupid GFWL.

Belimawr Avatar
4 Years ago

there is only a small number of the games on GFWL that have confirmed they are making it work without it, as it seems MS is leaving it up to the developers to decide so unless the developer patches it out of the game I wouldn't get your hopes up on all games being playable.

Fistynuts Avatar
4 Years ago

This is exactly what WON'T happen to some games. They depend on GfWL to start up - if the service no longer exists, they won't start.

The silence is typical of MIcrosoft in recent years. Unfortunately no news is usually bad news with them.

TenClub Avatar
4 Years ago

I hope they do not make another service because it's clear that in a few years time those games will stop working as well. It will also be consolized crap just like GFW LIVE is.

I hope MS's 10th "promise" of getting back into PC gaming is once again just talk. I do not want them anywhere near the platform when it comes to gaming and services. They can stay the fuck away.