Tuesday, 20 August 2013

State of PC Digital Download

There has been a couple things I've read related to this matter as of late. The first being Microsoft seemingly giving up on Games for Windows live and shutting down the service on July 1st 2014. While a lot of people will see this as a good thing considering there a quite number of folk who can't stand Microsofts GFWL platform, which I do understand as it isn't exactly the greatest out there. However I am one of the few(many? I haven't looked into figures) that still plays games on said platform, with the likes of Batman, Red Faction Guerilla, GTA 4 to name a few. All of these games I really enjoy and often go back to playing them on a some what regular (okay not that regular but they all get return visits over time), they also require you to sign into Microsofts service to play and save your game. My worry is how many developers will come around to patch out GFWL once it's gone? Will I still be able to play these games in a years time? Who is to say? Hopefully we will hear from them and whether they are going to sort this out.

I while I agree GFWL is a pain in the ass at times, Microsoft shouldn't have just bailed on PC gamers. It did have so much potential done right, under the right management and team it could have easily rivaled Steam, Origin (yes Origin it's a valid platform it just had a crappy launch like Steam did but that's a rant for another day) and other online distributors. They could have started cross platform gaming, pulled in gamers with Xbox exclusives such as Halo and Gears of War. But alas we got cock all, even though they are more than capable of making something decent (ie the Xbox interface). Why could they not have done something similar only on PC. Whether this is them MS scrapping the disaster of windows live and starting over from scratch or just giving up completely, only time will tell.

Next we have some news about Origin. They have recently set up a returns policy you can find here. This is quite a big step in Digital Download systems as usually when you buy something online you are kind of stuck with it. However under EAs new rules you can return game downloads for full refunds with 24 hours of the first time you launch the game, within seven days from when you purchase it, or within the first seven days after the games release if you pre ordered. No other DD platform has implemented such a clause in their ToS. EA definitely gained some kudos with this move. Granted it still has a while to gain the influence that Steam has but it's just a baby in comparison, however if EA keep pulling moves like this out the bag I'm sure they will catch up.