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Stardock slams Games For Windows Live

Stardock slams Games For Windows Live

Stardock's Brad Wardell has lashed out at Microsoft's Games For Windows Live system. Good for him.

Speaking in an interview with ShackNews, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has lashed out at Microsoft's Games For Windows Live system, implying that Microsoft don't know how to appeal to the PC gamer market.

Wardell even goes as far as to say that, if Microsoft keep up with Games For Windows Live and if it reaches a position where GFWL is the de facto standard, then he'll stop making PC games.

Games For Windows Live is Microsoft's attempt to replicate Xbox Live on the PC with an all-in-one marketplace, friends, copy-protection and auto-update system built directly into the games. Unfortunately, it's not proven popular with gamers or critics - and we've had a fair deal of problems with it too.

"I started out as a big Games for Windows Live advocate," said Wardell. "I intended for Elemental to be on Games for Windows Live, but then as we got closer, the Xbox group took it over more and more. And they have things where, oh, if you want to use Games for Windows Live to update your game, you have to go through [their] certification. And if you do it more than X number of times, you have to pay money. It's like, "My friends, you can't do that on the PC."

"On the console, I don't have to update my game because an anti-virus program got an update and is now identifying my VB scripts as viruses and I have to apply an emergency patch. That would just add insult to injury. We've had to upgrade our games plenty of times over the years, not because we found some bug, but because some third-party program, or driver, or whatever screwed it up."

"If Games for Windows Live maintains that strategy and they take over, I'm done," he added. "I'm not making PC games. I would be done."

Let us know what you think of Games For Windows Live in the forums.

45 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
ChaosDefinesOrder 5th October 2009, 11:24 Quote
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM? Isn't that pot calling kettle black a bit?
wuyanxu 5th October 2009, 11:26 Quote
he's right, it's a stupid consolification of PC gaming.
MajorTom 5th October 2009, 11:31 Quote
Absolutely. GFWL is such a mess and the business strategy is seriously flawed. It's even flawed on the 360. Look at the difference between support for L4D on PC and 360. As soon as the Survivor pack was released, there was a bug where Tanks stopped spawning. The PC had this patched right away as there was nothing stopping them. They had to live with it on the 360 as they had reached their free update limit within a certain time or something stupid like that.

Chaos - I think Sony developed SecuROM (could be wrong) but Stardock have used it in some of their games.
Thedarkrage 5th October 2009, 11:34 Quote
Well i can't say that i like SecureROM But i cant stand Games for Windows Live! i really think Microsoft need a slap they really are the worse thing to happen to pc gaming but at the same time the best where would we be with out direct x.

I hate Microsoft and i never use gwl i just crack any game with it on.
Now if only they would just leave it to valve the true pc heroes

Steam for life!
tad2008 5th October 2009, 11:35 Quote
Being able to get automatic updates for games rather than have to search out specific updates for game is certainly a good thing.

Games for Windows Live sounds like Microsoft is trying to tighten it's grip on PC gaming out of fear that perhaps the open source movement might one day soon offer 100% compatibility for all new games and it is a day I look forward to.

I love the PC platform and find consoles little more than a novelty.
steveo_mcg 5th October 2009, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM? Isn't that pot calling kettle black a bit?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MajorTom
Absolutely. GFWL is such a mess and the business strategy is seriously flawed. It's even flawed on the 360. Look at the difference between support for L4D on PC and 360. As soon as the Survivor pack was released, there was a bug where Tanks stopped spawning. The PC had this patched right away as there was nothing stopping them. They had to live with it on the 360 as they had reached their free update limit within a certain time or something stupid like that.

Chaos - I think Sony developed SecuROM (could be wrong) but Stardock have used it in some of their games.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thedarkrage
Well i can't say that i like SecureROM But i cant stand Games for Windows Live! i really think Microsoft need a slap they really are the worse thing to happen to pc gaming but at the same time the best where would we be with out direct x.

I hate Microsoft and i never use gwl i just crack any game with it on.
Now if only they would just leave it to valve the true pc heroes

Steam for life!

Stardock are the dudes famous for NOT using DRM at the height of the Bioshock SecurROM palaver.
sear 5th October 2009, 11:36 Quote
Games for Windows LIVE has improved quite a bit over the last year or so from an end-user's perspective. Having a unified system for friends and such in all your games is a nice touch, and I have to admit that I like the draw of achievements. However, the thing is still clunky, poorly-coded, and more likely to cause stability issues in the game than not. It's also missing a large number of features, to the point where it's actually quite hilarious. I'm actually rather convinced that Games for Windows LIVE is a somewhat elabourate ruse to get PC gamers to move over to consoles. Not having proper avatar support is a big one - I should not need to own an Xbox just to customise my own personal Mii knock-off. There's the ability to create and join parties, as well, yet when you try to use those features, you're greeted with a message that essentially says "go buy an Xbox 360". Well gee, thanks for supporting the PC so well, Microsoft.

From a developer's perspective, I can understand why playing to Microsoft's requirements would be extremely annoying, especially when you're used to having total freedom over the software you create. Having to go through Microsoft's certification, a process which most developers have some variant of themselves, just prevents you from issuing updates as quickly as you should be able to, and sucks up money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Anyway, Steam still does it better, so Microsoft has nothing.
CardJoe 5th October 2009, 11:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM? Isn't that pot calling kettle black a bit?

You're thinking of Starforce.

Stardock are a developer and publisher, with their own digital distribution platform called Impulse. Their games include Sins of a Solar Empire.
Thedarkrage 5th October 2009, 11:45 Quote
Stevo I never said stardock did anything i only said i don't like SecureROM
Thedarkrage 5th October 2009, 11:49 Quote
If microsoft had there way you would have to spend £16.99 to get 2100 Points to spend 300 points on changing your profile pic ummm no!
ChaosDefinesOrder 5th October 2009, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM? Isn't that pot calling kettle black a bit?

You're thinking of Starforce.

Stardock are a developer and publisher, with their own digital distribution platform called Impulse. Their games include Sins of a Solar Empire.

ah, starforce must have been what I was thinking of
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Stardock are the dudes famous for NOT using DRM at the height of the Bioshock SecurROM palaver.

and this is probably what got it confused in my mind...
Xtrafresh 5th October 2009, 12:01 Quote
like, is this guy like, 13?

Anyway, the point is made. I tried playing a legal copy of Dawn of War 2 the other day. It uses both steam and GFWL,
I just wanted a quick tryout of the game, but instead GFWL just kept prompting me to hand over my email and my shoesize and whatnot. Why should i have to give microsoft my personal data before i'm allowed to play a game i own? Insult to injury, the system seems to assume that i like all these features, and keeps spamming me with great friendfinders and profile pages. Instead of helping me, it pulls me out of the game menu (it warns me for crashes when doing so, lol) and opens a web page, for which it forces IE. This to me is VERY annoying, because i despise IE and never even finished the setup wizard for it, meaning i get prompted to go through that too! It's also a good revealer of what GFWL is: Microsoft's ruse to control the platform.

Sure enough, if you know how it all works, it could be done in a few seconds, but i dont know what it is, and i just want to get rid of it, because it's stopping me from playing the game. It's intrusive, really unhelpful, and the tone of the whole thing is completely wrong. I don't WANT a facebook for my games. I want to play games. Get outta my face.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.

[/rant]
Xtrafresh 5th October 2009, 12:05 Quote
doublepost, plz delete
impar 5th October 2009, 12:07 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM?
You are incorrect.
Securom => Sony => console company => best way to kill PC gaming

PS:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM?
You're thinking of Starforce.
No.
Stardock didnt want to use Starforce in its games.
A forum moderator from Stardock then posted a link to a pirated version of Galactic Civilizations II to show how wrong Stardock was for not using Starforce.
If Stardock
Jamie 5th October 2009, 12:11 Quote
Sounds like they need to make GFWL more optional from the gamers point of view. Steam is a great platform for tracking friends, buying games and updating them.
DragunovHUN 5th October 2009, 12:47 Quote
Wait, stardock makes videogames? I always thought they're the guys that make that windows app that gives you a Mac-style icon dock.

On topic, GFWL is horrible.
airchie 5th October 2009, 12:53 Quote
GFWL really annoys me.
I bought Batman Arkham Asylum on Steam the other day and had to spend far too long jumping through hoops to satisfy MS before I could actually play.

I like the idea of centrally-managed updates for games, and a central friend list and even the achievements GFWL offers aren't too bad, but I don't like they intrusive way in which its implemented and forced upon you.
It should be optional.

Also, we should have an open framework for developers to use that takes all the features we like and offers them to users without being tied to steam or GFWL etc.
I would sign up to that no problem. :)
Silver51 5th October 2009, 13:08 Quote
Imo, GFWL is just awful. I much prefer Steam as a matured platform for buying games and keeping in touch with friends.
REMF 5th October 2009, 13:12 Quote
GTA4 is awesome, but Rockstar Social Club and Games for Windows Live are a nightmare.

I created both the above accounts, registering with false email addresses that i hoped would convey my hatred of the unnecessary travesty of intrusive DRM product registration.

From the first moment the game would not run from the shortcut, nor from the social-club splash screen, instead i had to reload the disk, ignore the autoplay prompt, and then use the splash screen to start the game.

I decided that if i ever had to reinstall the game it would induce rage that would destroy any pleasure to be had from this 'leisure' activity.

However, the day arrived when windows strangled itself thus requiring a reinstall, but i thought; what the hell, the game was so good i'd reinstall that too.

I had recorded the username and passwords for RSSC and GFWL, but the former would not accept it.
So i duly created another RSSC username, but on attempting to login was informed that the application did not exist.
The files were in the install folder on the harddrive, but what the hell so i popped the disk back in an re-installed the game to the same folder, which took a suspiciously short time to copy two DVD's worth of data.
Then it asked me for a CDKEY, so i looked in the DVD case and manual and found no sign of a CDKEY, did the game require one when i first bought it.............?
For the hell of it, i tried using the get "authentication key" function, but to no avail.

So with the surety that i had at least completed the game previously, I took the game downstairs and struck a cleaver through the whole package, which then went in the bin along with any enthusiasm for buying similarly infected Rockstar products in future.

Games for windows live actually reduced my gaming experience.
Jezcentral 5th October 2009, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by airchie
GFWL really annoys me.
I bought Batman Arkham Asylum on Steam the other day and had to spend far too long jumping through hoops to satisfy MS before I could actually play.
I've just played Batman:AA, and I'm not even connected to the internet. I just chose "Offline" in the GFWL section when I first installed the game, and that was the last I've heard of it. (Yes, you get the "Press the Home button" when you boot up the game and go to the menu, but you can just ignore it and click on "Start the game").
rpsgc 5th October 2009, 13:15 Quote
http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/2356/ambulance.png

Seriously, what a cry baby.

Quote:
If Games for Windows Live maintains that strategy and they take over, I'm done. I'm not making PC games.

/care
Boogle 5th October 2009, 13:19 Quote
I don't play any GFWL games anymore, they're far too much hassle.

1. Install game
2. Install GFWL
3. Update GFWL
4. Update Game
5. Hand over lots of personal details
6. Update GFWL
7. Play game
8. Can't play game until account created on GFWL
9. More details handed over, account created
10. Update GFWL
11. Can't play game until publisher account created
12. More details handed over, second account created
13. Game updated
14. Play game, crashes. Conflict with software on PC
15. Burn game, never been played

Or steam:

1. Buy game
2. Download
3. Play game whenever you want

Quite frankly MS and many other publishers are doing their very best to destroy PC gaming. Don't blame them though, consoles are far more profitable. You can charge more, you get more personal details to sell and you can monitor everything they do to make even more money selling the results. It's got to be a massive cash cow, running a console system now. People even pay MS to monitor everything they do and sell on their 'anonymous' data.
l3v1ck 5th October 2009, 13:27 Quote
The he should use Steam for his games instead.
Evildead666 5th October 2009, 14:39 Quote
Doesn't steam also have GFWL...?

If steam has NO GFWL, then i'll continue buying on Steam, but I had the impression GFWL was on steam also...

It was one of the MAJOR reasons I didn't get GTA4. Still haven't played it, even though I loved all the others...
I know SecuROM was on some steam titles, but not sure about GFWL....
stoff3r 5th October 2009, 15:07 Quote
Steam has GFWL, atleast GTA IV has it, and my mate said it was a hassle.... Anyways, what is stardock? i had it installed on my computer i realised, did it follow some game? i'm guessing CnC 3: kanes wrath since it's my latest install.....
bogie170 5th October 2009, 15:21 Quote
Microsofts GFWL can go to hell as it sucks So does EA's online service.

Why the hell they just don't use Steam baffles me, Valve actually know what the hell they are doing (apart form overcharging!).
SNIPERMikeUK 5th October 2009, 15:25 Quote
Stardock will not be missed, bye
Psytek 5th October 2009, 15:36 Quote
Patch certification is stupid... but other than that, gfwl isn't so bad.
airchie 5th October 2009, 15:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thedarkrage
I hate Microsoft and i never use gwl i just crack any game with it on.
Sounds good, can you still update games etc without the need to jump through the GFWL hoops?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezcentral
I've just played Batman:AA, and I'm not even connected to the internet. I just chose "Offline" in the GFWL section when I first installed the game, and that was the last I've heard of it. (Yes, you get the "Press the Home button" when you boot up the game and go to the menu, but you can just ignore it and click on "Start the game").
I didn't realise it was optional in that way. I don't remember seeing the option to work offline. Maybe cos I bought it on Steam?
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Then he should use Steam for his games instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
Doesn't steam also have GFWL...?
It does indeed.
I bought Batman AA through steam and still had the stupid GFWL crap forced on me. :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoff3r
... Anyways, what is stardock? i had it installed on my computer i realised, did it follow some game? i'm guessing CnC 3: kanes wrath since it's my latest install.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
You're thinking of Starforce.

Stardock are a developer and publisher, with their own digital distribution platform called Impulse. Their games include Sins of a Solar Empire.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNIPERMikeUK
Stardock will not be missed, bye
Maybe not by you but I for one think they're an excellent developer and are an excellent example to others on how to treat your customers.
ffjason 5th October 2009, 16:03 Quote
I hope microsoft does drop GFWL or at least all the stupid charges. The system is just a complete hassle. Even playing games with a couple of mates is hard work with invites to private games having to go through GFWL.

Impulse is not much better. Although it offers updates automatically it takes about 5 minutes for it to figure out you need an update meaning I can't load my game instantly in case there is an update which i'm not seeing.

Rockstar games' loader is even more annoying offering no benefit from having it open yet forcing you to launch the game through it - why?

Steam is the only one who has it remotely right with the quick automated updates, quick loading, simple standard interface, no adverts crying out everywhere, small memory imprint, ease of use and lots of games. Its a shame you have to use other systems as well as Steam for some steam games.

In my opinion dvd copy protection (SecureROM, Starforce, etc) is a thing of the past and steam is the way forward. I don't want lots of DVD's lying around the house gathering dust. I'd rather have access to my games where ever I am.

I know even steam games can be cracked but companies must see the benefit to dropping the old protection techniques for digital distribution. Now if internet providers (grrr Virgin) would stop limiting me for installing a game or two and actually allow me to play online with reasonable pings at any time of day then I might be a happy man. You can understand why gamers are generally nocturnal when pings are through the roof at all other times of day.
ssj12 5th October 2009, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
um... correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Stardock the inventors of SecureROM? Isn't that pot calling kettle black a bit?

Sony makes SecuROM
NuTech 5th October 2009, 16:29 Quote
I've never had any major problems with GFWL and one thing I really appreciate is the seamless Xbox controller support.

Playing games like Batman:AA or RE5 and having them automatically recognise the Xbox controller and instantly remap all the buttons (and in-game button prompts) is very sweet.
Saivert 5th October 2009, 16:57 Quote
Clearing up some misconceptions:

1. Sony makes SecuROM
2. Stardock only would drop making PC games if GFWL becomes mandatory. Currently games developers/publishers are free to release games without any GFW or GFWL on it.
3. Valve's Steam store would shoot their own foot if they denied publishers access to it who has chosen to use any kind of DRM and/or GFWL. Steam just sells games on, it does not dictate the content of the games itself. Remember some years back Valve struggled to even get any third-party publishers onto Steam. Now there are lots.
Horizon 5th October 2009, 17:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogle
I don't play any GFWL games anymore, they're far too much hassle.

1. Install game
2. Install GFWL
3. Update GFWL
4. Update Game
5. Hand over lots of personal details
6. Update GFWL
7. Play game
8. Can't play game until account created on GFWL <--cough BS, see step 5
9. More details handed over, account created <--cough BS, done in step 5
10. Update GFWL
11. Can't play game until publisher account created
12. More details handed over, second account created
13. Game updated
14. Play game, crashes. Conflict with software on PC
15. Burn game, never been played

Or steam:

1. Buy game
2. Download
3. Play game whenever you want

Quite frankly MS and many other publishers are doing their very best to destroy PC gaming. Don't blame them though, consoles are far more profitable. You can charge more, you get more personal details to sell and you can monitor everything they do to make even more money selling the results. It's got to be a massive cash cow, running a console system now. People even pay MS to monitor everything they do and sell on their 'anonymous' data.

I don't mean to play the devils advocate here but it's getting a little old and now just a fanboi hatefest. I remember my first day with steam, the day orange box was released. More or less the same thing.

1. Install Steam
2. Hand over lots of personal details
3. Update Steam
4. Install Game
5. Update Game
6. Repeat Steps 4&5 for each game
7. Play game
8. Couldn't play game because steam could not validate files with servers
9. 4hrs later, enjoyed thoroughly.

I could add at least 8 more steps now that my steam library is 50 strong.
wuyanxu 5th October 2009, 17:48 Quote
what's "great" about GFWL though is that the keys can be used many times and it's not game specific.

so you can buy a single GFWL game and download all the rest, then get full online function with all your games.

im pretty sure that's not good DRM.
Grimloon 5th October 2009, 17:59 Quote
As far GFWL being buggy is concerned and comparing it to Steam, I used to really hate that program. The way the update bar almost seemed smug as it went from 99% complete and a few seconds remaining to 5% and 14 hours - AAAARRRGH! It was the bane of my existence for years but they finally got it right. As far as updates are concerned that's where GFWL appears to be at the mooment.

However, regarding the content management, market place et al the less said the better (i.e. it gets dropped in a very deep hole and buried).
Star*Dagger 5th October 2009, 19:12 Quote
Disclosure: My disdain for Microsoft and their evil corporate practices is deep and broad.

I wonder if Microsoft, and the PC community as a whole, realize how close MS is to losing everything. It will not happen on the USA side, but the EU side.
The EU has been punishing MS for quite some time now and the day will come when MS is forced to allow other European companies to publish OS's that are Windows compatible.
I look forward to that day, because on that day PC gaming and the PC platform will be released from the 2nd largest impediment to its ascendancy into pure excellence (the first being the backward compatible x86 standard).

Looking forward to a better day in the PC OS world...

Yours in Anti-MS Plasma,
Star*Dagger

P.S. Stardock is one of the best dev organizations around
P.P.S. Use steam, it is stable, fast and secure.
Chocobollz 5th October 2009, 19:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ffjason
I'd rather have access to my games where ever I am.

Say that again when you're somewhere in Africa :P~
bobwya 5th October 2009, 22:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thedarkrage
Well i can't say that i like SecureROM But i cant stand Games for Windows Live! i really think Microsoft need a slap they really are the worse thing to happen to pc gaming but at the same time the best where would we be with out direct x.
...

A whole lot better off really!!

OpenGL would allow better competition between the Windows OS and other operating system like GNU/Linux and OS-X. Games would be easier to port between systems. Many games used to be coded with both DirectX and OpenGL support but that seems to be largely a thing of the past. Microsoft have done their best to stifle true competition, open standards and innovation in the desktop market...
gavomatic57 5th October 2009, 22:22 Quote
I actually don't mind GFWL. I had several 360's over the period of 18 months and generated some 10,000+ gamerpoints. Thankfully the last 360 has been disposed of, gone to deafen and fail on someone else, but GFWL allows me to continue to grow my gamer score without the indignity of using a 360. Once you have one GFW account you can use it for every GFWL game and once it is installed it updates through Windows Update - at least in Vista - so it isn't much of a problem.
Xtrafresh 5th October 2009, 23:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
I actually don't mind GFWL. I had several 360's over the period of 18 months and generated some 10,000+ gamerpoints. Thankfully the last 360 has been disposed of, gone to deafen and fail on someone else, but GFWL allows me to continue to grow my gamer score without the indignity of using a 360. Once you have one GFW account you can use it for every GFWL game and once it is installed it updates through Windows Update - at least in Vista - so it isn't much of a problem.
That's the whole problem, the above is MS's reasoning exactly. The point is not that it doesn't work, the point is it's forced on me. I dont WANT a gamerscore, i dont WANT a GFW account, and i certainly dont want microsoft to database everything i do. It's not optional though, so you either get with the program, or dont play at all.
g3n3tiX 6th October 2009, 00:14 Quote
I didn't have any trouble with GFWL, neither in Batman, Warhammer, or Resident evil 5.
I just installed the game, and it used my previously-setup account that was saved on the computer.
No hassles.

It can be criticised : for DoW II when I want to play Coop with a friend, the invitations screen doen't have any form of autocomplete, as well as some other stupid UI stuff.

Steam is easier and more firendly to use, that I'll agree with (provided you have a beefy connection)
DarkLord7854 6th October 2009, 01:43 Quote
GFWL started off as a good concept but then MS dropped the ball :(
impar 6th October 2009, 01:56 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
GFWL started off as a good concept but then MS dropped the ball :(
Didnt dropped the ball, just consolified tye concept:
Quote:
ZERO <ibis> 6th October 2009, 15:08 Quote
If GFWL became the only option I would stop playing new games. Luckily I do not see steam going away so at least I could still play a few games.
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