As the Xbox 360 NXE release approaches and following the stark back-pedal on the GfW : Live Gold Subscription fee back in July, Microsoft has entered phase 2 in it’s revision of Games for Windows : Live by rejigging the interface, which should be available now for LIVE-enabled games.
Designed around the sensible concept of ‘most of our users have a mouse’ rather than the ‘match the buttons to the Xbox 360 controller’ interface of old, the new interface features a much more logical layout taylored around mouse navigation with more information available on screen at any one time.
This, coupled with the imminent release of the Live Marketplace, represents a complete change in focus of the Live system, moving away from the cross-platform design of old, instead targetting the strengths of both the Windows & Xbox platforms.
In an interview with GameDaily, John Schappert, co-vice president of Live, Software and Studios at Microsoft, outlined the reason for the change.
“The online space is and will remain the driving force behind Windows gaming, and we’re taking steps to ensure that Games for Windows — Live provides a unique online home for PC gamers. This new release was designed specifically with our community of PC gamers and game developers in mind. It’s a natural next step in delivering a world-class online service for Windows gamers.”
Marketing Manager Michael Wolf echoed these comments in a separate interview.
“We’ve revisited the concept [for Games for Windows – Live]. Rather than offer an ‘Xbox Live for Windows’ type experience, let’s optimize the service for PC gamers – let’s make a great PC online gaming service. As a result of that, we completely redid the interface.”
Kinda makes you wonder why they thought the original interface was the way to go, but then it is Microsoft after all…
Following the announcement that Microsoft were radically changing the direction of GfW: Live to a more open service, many developers have lept on the service, which not 1 year ago was tantamount to a dirty word in PC gaming & development circles because of it’s restrictive, disruptive interface and essential cloning of many features that were common place in the Xbox version(s) of LIVE, not too mentioned the poor decision to keep many key features back for people paying for a GOLD subscription.