After revolutionising the world of computers with Windows and other applications, Microsoft has declared that it is going to sell downloadable online games with effect from November 15. Although the company already allows users to purchase and download full PC games, they are required to use a locally installed software client in order to do so.
This announcement by Microsoft amounts to a bifurcation of the games for Windows transactional architecture. Till now, you had to download the games for Windows client and click through its propriety store, if you wanted to buy a copy of BioShock 2 or Fallout 3, in order to complete your transaction and initiate the download. But now with the Games for Windows Marketplace as called by Microsoft, you would now be able to simply click through the Games for Windows website and download the games directly, without the requirement of a client.
Microsoft PC and mobile games product manager Peter Orullian believes that Games for Windows Marketplace is another step in a series of changes that began about eighteen months ago, when the company ‘doubled down’ and announced games like Microsoft Flight, Age of Empires online, and Fable 3.
Starting off as a managing editor for XBoX.com, Orullian helped to launch digital distribution on the XBoX console, and finally moved over to launch the entertainment portion of Microsoft’s digital distribution business while the company started doing TV, film and music videos.
The company quietly began selling games this summer, without the Games for Windows branding, including Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed 2, Silent Hunter 5, and Deux Ex. According to Orullian, they are going to launch a new site that would have 100 games, once it goes live.
Now the idea of 100 games does sound impressive unless one considers that many have been available through the service for years. Compared with over 1200 games of Stream, these 100 seem merely like a drop in the bucket. However, Orullian defends it by placing emphasis on quality rather than quantity. He says that their approach is to have a close look at the best games, and that they use a lot of different factors in the selection process, which include considering the Metacritic rating, looking at the big franchises and having discussions with publishers and taking the gamers’ feedback.
After the mid-November launch of Gamers for Windows marketplace, the company would be committed to releasing a new game every week, along with promotional deals and other ideas borrowed from its XBoX 360 platform, according to Orullian. He further says that they would be looking at things that are topical and curating rather than just picking games around holidays or genres or big releases with the emphasis being placed on making them easily discoverable. He says that they are doing a lot of work in making the discoverability and finding of content very intuitive and straightforward, and then users can simply go ahead with the purchase.
Despite the changes, Microsoft isn’t abandoning the client and admits that it may be the preferred interface through which you can check your purchase history and re-download games.