Games for Windows Live, Microsoft’s attempt at creating an Xbox Live-esque network for PC games, will finally be put out of its misery next summer.
According to an update to Microsoft’s support website (which has since been removed,) all Games for Windows Live services will be discontinued on July 1st, 2014. It’s currently unknown how/if the closure of Games for Windows Live will affect the many games that connect to the internet through the service, but Microsoft’s update did specifically mention that Age of Empires Online will be unplayable following GFWL’s shut down.
“Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014,” Microsoft’s statement said. “Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down.”
This news comes as many of Games for Windows Live’s biggest third party supporters jump ship from Microsoft’s platform and onto Steam: while the first two Arkham games on PC supported GFWL, WB Games recently announced that the PC version of the upcoming Arkham Origins wouldn’t use Microsoft’s service. Capcom, who previously released most of their PC ports with GFWL connectivity, similarly announced that Ultra Street Fighter IV will drop all support for the network.
Games for Windows Live originally launched in 2007, and was Microsoft’s attempt to create a unified PC gaming network to compete with Valve’s Steam. Like Xbox Live, a GFW “Gold” account originally required a paid subscription, but the service quickly dropped the subscription fee a few months after launch when it became clear that PC gamers weren’t going to pay a monthly fee when Steam provided comparable services for free. Last week Microsoft announced that users would no longer be able to purchase new games through the GFWL storefront, but they promised that customers would be able to continue to access and play their GFWL games without interruption.
It’s currently unknown how the closure of Games for Windows Live will ultimately affect the games that use the service, including Dark Souls, Fallout 3 and BioShock. Just to be safe, you might want to farm those achievements now (GFW achievements sync up with your Xbox Live account, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,) and maybe you should download any games you purchased from the GFW store to your hard drive before the service goes down for good.