On Games for Windows

Games for Windows Vista how the new brand & OS will change PC gaming on Joystiq offers an updated preview of the new Games for Windows initiative, attempting, with limited success, to sort out what GFW represents besides a marketing slogan. Based on a tour of the program by Marketing Director Kevin Unangst and PR Manager Michael Wolf, they describe interoperability with Xbox 360 games via "Live Anywhere," how PCs will get numerical ratings to gauge how well they can play games, and what qualifies a game for the GFW logo. The conclusion they draw, however, is that it is difficult to draw conclusions about all this:
It's a risk. The Games for Windows strategy is on the verge of being schizophrenic. Can the cumbersome PC gaming experience really be simplified down to a console scheme? There are just too many freedoms and variations that exist in the PC universe to accurately interpret the PC as "the console that everybody already owns." It's not that simple. So is GFW a trick? Is Microsoft trying to lure back some of the consumers that were lost when Xbox was launched (an initiative that cannibalized PC gaming sales by design)?

The answer, like the Games For Windows vision, is not so clear. But there is most certainly the opportunity for Microsoft to create something very special. A cross-platform community where you and I can jump from Xbox to PC to our cell phones seamlessly. Anywhere.
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57.
 
Re: As a game developer
Dec 20, 2006, 22:00
57.
Re: As a game developer Dec 20, 2006, 22:00
Dec 20, 2006, 22:00
 
Seriously dude, how can you think this is a bad idea?
It is a bad idea because developers will still release buggy games. Consumers will simply have to pay more for games because of the Microsoft GFW license. You don't seriously expect game publishers to absorb that cost, do you?

This comment was edited on Dec 20, 22:11.
56.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 21:56
56.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 21:56
Dec 20, 2006, 21:56
 
Microsoft knows that good business is keeping the dev and the consumer happy. Bad business is pissing one off. Posters here rarely seem to understand that.
What you fail to realize is that those two aren't necessarily mutually inclusive. Businesses continually push and encroach upon consumers and rarely do they pay a price for it or even receive backlash over it because it's done gradually or obfuscated or because the company doing it is in a dominant market position and can get away with it. It's why consumers aren't boycotting or complaining en masse over the fact that packaged food prices have effectively soared over the years due to significantly smaller package sizes. Businesses treat their customers as poorly as they can get away with, and unfortunately consumers let them get away with quite a bit.


55.
 
Re: Games For Satan
Dec 20, 2006, 21:37
55.
Re: Games For Satan Dec 20, 2006, 21:37
Dec 20, 2006, 21:37
 
and how long before a PC dev has to pay MS for each sold copy (just like console games), and how long before MS makes DX not-free unless you participate in GFW.
Exactly. Even though the PC is an open platform in the sense that third-party development tools and libraries can be used, Microsoft can leverage its control over the OS to make using those third-party tools and libraries difficult if not impossible. Microsoft already does this with its DirectX SDK's by only supporting its own languages and compilers. By tying DirectX 10 to Vista Microsoft has ensured that developers and consumers must use Vista to get the benefits of DirectX 10 and by bundling the game browser and Live service into Vista and into its SDK's, Microsoft has made it the default method of incorporating that functionaily into games for Vista.

Sure developers could forgo paying Microsoft to have their games certified for Windows and appear in the game browser, but what commercial game developer is going to want its games to not show up there when its competitors' games do.


54.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 21:23
54.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 21:23
Dec 20, 2006, 21:23
 
Correct me if i'm wrong but werent there quite a few XP only games released when XP was?
You're wrong. Windows 98 didn't drop out as the preferred or even just a viable gaming platform until a couple of years after XP's release. Microsoft's only XP exclusive was Windows Media Player 8 which was shortlived.

Microsoft are just trying to enabling PC gaming easier for those unable/unwilling to learn the complete ins and outs of sustaining a PC.
NO, that is not all Microsoft is trying to do. Microsoft wants to turn the Windows platform into a revenue stream for games as it has with its XBOX console through XBOX live subscriptions and game licenses. So, while it will certainly simplify PC gaming, PC gamers will literarily pay for that privilege.

So why are so many people clamouring all over this saying it's stupid, it'll force us to buy Vista etc etc etc. No doubt you'll buy vista in the future. No doubt quite a few games will provide XP support as well. So what the hell is the problem?
The problem is that the people clamouring don't like to pay money when it shouldn't be necessary. Microsoft will eventually force Vista and its Live service upon game consumers by simply not providing support for anything else and making using alternatives impossible or unattractive for developers.


53.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 20, 2006, 16:44
53.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 20, 2006, 16:44
Dec 20, 2006, 16:44
 
Why is content any more expensive to generate on the PC?

Read the post just before my reply to your post -- I went into that.

52.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 20, 2006, 14:53
52.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 20, 2006, 14:53
Dec 20, 2006, 14:53
 
And I bet you'll see the quality of games go really south on the PS3 (and, to a lesser extent, the 360) now that hard drives, and thus patching, is available.
Oh yeah, I don't doubt that.

The more content you have, the more content you have to generate and QA.
Why is content any more expensive to generate on the PC? I guess if you're doing "low res" models of everything... who knows. IANA game developer.

Avatar 18712
51.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 20, 2006, 10:17
51.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 20, 2006, 10:17
Dec 20, 2006, 10:17
 
What I love about the PC is that I have control over the software and hardware. If a piece of hardware breaks or I want to replace it with something better, I can do it myself. It's the same thing with software, it's up to me if I want to apply a patch or not.

Consoles are great until something breaks, or you find a show stopping bug in one of your games. I'm not a huge console game player, but even my small library has 2 glitchy games, Morrowind and Thief: Deadly Shadows for the original XBOX. The AI bug in Thief was especially annoying, easily patched but Microsoft refuses to do anything about it.


50.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 20, 2006, 09:42
50.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 20, 2006, 09:42
Dec 20, 2006, 09:42
 
SomeDude was saying that console games are far more stable. Which has nothing to do with content.

Not entirely true. The more content you have, the more content you have to generate and QA. Content generation is very time intensive ($$$), and so is QA... especially on the PC platform.

If you try and force a console-level quality on PC games, then you either have to spend a lot more money on it, or you cut the amount of content to stay in budget. And since cutting the content reduces costs in two (or more) places... guess what'll happen?

That said, the claim that console games are perfect is bogus; numerous (maybe even most) games have "glitches", some of which are game killing. And I bet you'll see the quality of games go really south on the PS3 (and, to a lesser extent, the 360) now that hard drives, and thus patching, is available.

49.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 09:36
49.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 09:36
Dec 20, 2006, 09:36
 
1) Adventure
2) Space sims

Those genres are basically dead. That has nothing to do with consoles, but rather the industry deciding that the genres are either not-profitable (adventure) or done to death (space sims).

The other examples, particularly Mech sims, are quite valid though.

What everyone's ignoring here, however, is the economics. PC games cost vastly more to produce -- not only do you have more coding time (due to the open endedness of the platform and QA work), but you have PC gamers demanding both better graphics (and for as much as people claim they don't matter, I call bullshit -- whenever a game releases screenshots that aren't up to current or next gen standards they get raked across the coals here) and more gameplay. All for less money per game in a smaller market.

I'm all for PC gaming, but I'm also unsurprised that it's becoming increasingly marginalized. I don't think that GFW is going to really solve this; if MS really wants to help, they should do their utmost to improve the APIs and beat hardware makers into releasing quality drivers. Neither of which they're really doing (they are forcing better drivers in Vista... but only for 64-bit. That's not going to help most users).

48.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 20, 2006, 05:00
48.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 20, 2006, 05:00
Dec 20, 2006, 05:00
 
Developers dumb down games for consoles
Way to miss the point. SomeDude was saying that console games are far more stable. Which has nothing to do with content.

This holds true for (most) console ports too - the most obvious example is GTA - these games when ported to the PC are never patched (except to remove HotCoffee). Why? Because they are far more stable than the average PC game. Yes, consoles only have one target hardware spec to go for. But anything that gets us away from the retarded lottery of getting a game home and praying it installs first time and works is good by me.

As for requiring Live subscription to play multiplayer: fuck. right. off.

Avatar 18712
47.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 04:56
47.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 04:56
Dec 20, 2006, 04:56
 
I'll have to agree with this one. Oblivion, though excellent, had a drastically reduced skill set (even more dumbed-down than Morrowind).

Quake 4 was a joke.

Call of Duty 2, a travesty. I can't believe there are actually CLANS for this game. Spray and prayer's delight.

46.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 03:00
46.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 03:00
Dec 20, 2006, 03:00
 
PC games haven't gotten any worse, console games have simply gotten better.

Have to disagree with you there. Let's look at several PC-centric genres that have suffered as of late:

1) Adventure: When was the last time a good adventure game came out? Remember back in the good ol' days, when you had Day of the Tentacle, Leisure Suit Larry, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, etc? The most recent LSL game was a dumbed down collection of minigames. Clever puzzles? Funny dialogue? Nowhere to be seen. Dreamfall? Horribly stilted combat, shallow stealth segments and puzzles are nowhere to be found.

2) Space sims: What happened after Freespace 2? Freelancer was decent but what else? Space Interceptor? Darkstar One? X3? Now the only developers still making space sims come from third-world countries (same applies to adventure games) and these games pale in comparison to the games of old.

3) Tactical shooters: Look at R6 and GR. Once upon a time, they were realistic games where you actually had to use tactics. Now? Now they are just regular shooters where you have regenerating health and over-the-shoulder aiming.

4) Mech sims: Um, yeah. The only mech games still coming out are from third-world countries and they mostly suck.

5) Vehicular combat: Where the hell is my Interstate 77? Hell, where's my Carmageddon 4? Let's see, what was the last vehicular combat game for the PC... ah yes, Hard Truck: Apocalypse and its expansion pack. Terrible game, btw.

6) PC franchises in general: Deus Ex, Tribes, Thief, Commandos... the list goes on and on. In attempt to broaden their appeal and develop them for both both consoles and PCs, the aforementioned classic PC franchises have suffered.

As you can see, several once prolific PC genres have all but disappeared due to publishers abandoning PC gaming enthusiasts and focusing instead on more mainstream genres. Classic PC franchises lie in ruin, current PC franchises are quickly becoming consolized and cross-platform development ensures that the PC version of any game is basically a port.

Avatar 20715
45.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 00:41
45.
Re: No subject Dec 20, 2006, 00:41
Dec 20, 2006, 00:41
 
Tanto the problem is the delay between good console games coming to the PC.
KOTOR, Halo, Fable, GTA, etc.
But games from Nintendo, Square Enix etc will never come to the PC.

I'm almost to the point where I wish the PC sides of things would go a wee bit console. Say every 5 years come out with a base set computer, so when it comes to buy games all I would have to worry about is if I have enough disk space.

*shrugs*

Avatar 12670
44.
 
No subject
Dec 20, 2006, 00:10
44.
No subject Dec 20, 2006, 00:10
Dec 20, 2006, 00:10
 
PC games haven't gotten any worse, console games have simply gotten better.
Leave it alone, the best games will always be on PC, because PCs are scalable, upgradeable, and will always be the most cutting edge platform.

I use a Logitech G25 Steering wheel for NFS Carbon, which means I play at 1280x1024 and it doesn't look grainy as hell.
I've seen HiDef gaming on a bigscreen. It's wild, but give me a 21" widescreen at 1440 anyday and it will look a lot better because it's not trying to do something it can't.
HDDVD? Computers have that too. Blueray? I think so, but haven't checked around...
If it's not, it will be available soon enough. It always is.

My point is that PC gaming will always be around and any game that comes out on console, that is any good, will be on PC as well. This is because any solid gamer owns a solid PC or a solid console, or both.
That said, I prefer Oblivion on my computer, with a keyboard, then a console, with a controller.
But if I'm so inclined, I can use my XBox 360 controller, on my PC. Customization, tailoring my experience.
Something consoles mimic, but cannot actually do.

PC Gaming isn't going anywhere. Consoles have become much better, but computers are always better.

Avatar 13202
43.
 
PC MP Gaming > All
Dec 19, 2006, 23:10
43.
PC MP Gaming > All Dec 19, 2006, 23:10
Dec 19, 2006, 23:10
 
Hell yes bring back PC gaming. When it comes to networked, multiplayer games, PC games rule. If you look at the xbox360, Ps3 etc they are really just little PC's that now come with networkable games, but no mods and no free internet community.

And yes what Jerykk said about Tribes Vengeance is a classic example of how the industry changes a game to make it conform to console style of play. There are many of us that like well made sophisticated multiplayer games. Then there are the many minions who just want to play table tennis on their playstation. The game industry has totally forgotten about the enthusiast PC gaming market. Hey most of us have the money and dole it out on quality.

Consoles have their place and will thrive, but their will always be a hardcore enthusiast PC gaming market. On top of that, consoles are prettty limited. They are great for single player path scripted games, sports games etc, but for big, immersive, FPS multiplayer gaming with 32+ players consoles just aren't there yet. Plus how do you play mods on a console. How do you create user made content, maps etc on a console?

Hate to say it, but in usual fashion, MS is just always one step ahead of the other guy. They know their is a large PC gaming enthusiast market. And by God, MS give them the option to use a joystick, but never take away my option to use the great keyboard and mouse.

This comment was edited on Dec 19, 23:35.
42.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 19, 2006, 22:47
42.
Re: No subject Dec 19, 2006, 22:47
Dec 19, 2006, 22:47
 
See, that's the problem. Accessibility and mainstream appeal are business considerations. Let's say that all PC games suddenly become easy to get into, don't require the latest hardware, drivers, etc, and so forth. The PC gaming industry suddenly booms and we start seeing a lot more games coming out. This would be a pyrrhic victory. What's the point of having a booming PC games industry if all the games are dumbed-down, shallow and generic? Publishers might rejoice but the enthusiast, dedicated PC gaming community (the ones who truly have a passion for gaming) gets screwed.

Nobody taught me about DOS syntax or the difference between a 286 and a 386 (mainly the inability to play Doom). I had to teach myself. Part of the fun of gaming is learning how to play. When I first played Tribes, I got completely molested. But that was okay. I dedicated myself to learning how to ski, how to lead my aim to compensate for lag, target velocity, my own speed and trajectory. After countless hours of hard (but fun) work, I was finally able to enjoy the game to its fullest extent, gliding over mountains and hills with grace while shooting enemies out of the air with a well-placed disc.

Fast-forward to Tribes: Vengeance, the game that had the potential to surpass the first and turn the series into a long-running franchise. Vivendi and Irrational decide to take away the whole learning experience by oversimplifying the game. Health kits turned into powerups, skiing was taken literally, invisible walls were put into place so that newbs wouldn't get lost... this was the final nail in the coffin. In order to appeal to a broader audience and make the game more accessible, Vivendi and Irrational completely abandoned the original Tribes community.

So yeah, you'll have to forgive me if I take issue with mainstream appeal.

Avatar 20715
41.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 19, 2006, 22:32
41.
Re: No subject Dec 19, 2006, 22:32
Dec 19, 2006, 22:32
 
What it comes down to is money. Bioware has done it, Beth just did it with Oblivion and Star Trek Legacy, and other developers following suit.

Avatar 12670
40.
 
No subject
Dec 19, 2006, 22:10
40.
No subject Dec 19, 2006, 22:10
Dec 19, 2006, 22:10
 
Joystiq blows.

EDIT: BTW, for all the naysayers response to the GFW initiative, tell us all how you would personally attempt to get the PC more into the mainstream so the hobby can continue to be relevant? The snobbery from the anti-console contingent who believe keeping PC gaming a complicated mess for average folks just baffles me to no end. MS is the only company that can do something like this and to me its something I wish they'd done years ago.

EDIT EDIT: oops, Kosumo posed the question before me.

I'm a redundant tool.

This comment was edited on Dec 19, 22:26.
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"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."

- Jim Goad
Avatar 10137
39.
 
Re: couldn`t agree more
Dec 19, 2006, 22:00
39.
Re: couldn`t agree more Dec 19, 2006, 22:00
Dec 19, 2006, 22:00
 
Dreagon, if the way you see it is right, then whats your solution to the problem? (lack of industry wide standard, complexity of use)

38.
 
Re: No subject
Dec 19, 2006, 21:55
38.
Re: No subject Dec 19, 2006, 21:55
Dec 19, 2006, 21:55
 
Windows needs to sell Vista and like all companies they want to sell LOTS of Vista.

Whats one way to sell Vista, by selling systems.

Whats a major reason that people buy new systems, to play the latest cutting edge games.


Not meaning to be rude, but that's probably not even ONE PERCENT of the Windows market. Really, it amazes me that Microsoft is going through such seeming "efforts" (and I use the term loosely because really, the only thing they've done so far is talk about it, I see very little actual EFFORT being put into the whole thing) to promote gaming on Windows when their core audience is the business user. Always has been, always will be.

The few million OEM copies of Windows that sell to gamers are fucking peanuts to them. The money is in the licenses to corporations. And the corporation isn't going to give a shit if the PC is only a "4 for games", or if it can talk to M4st4Kill4 on the Xbox 360.

The one way the entire initiative would be a glowing success if by branding it a GFW game, it has to adhere to a certain quality standard. That way we'd be rid of all the EA and other publishers foisting their pre-beta copies onto a paying public.

Ofcourse, Microsoft themselves are the biggest proponent / guilty party in shoving beta code out the door, so I have some doubts that will happen.

Any of that other shit, being able to play against an xbox 360 gamer, I fail to see how that's going to "Revitalize" gaming.

And really, didn't Microsoft WANT everyone to stop playing games on the PC and switch to an Xbox? And now that people are doing it, they're trying to get people back on the PC. Make up your fucking minds already. You're worse than the Boston Red Sox.

Creston


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