Microsoft has been hitting Games for Windows LIVE hard at this year’s Game Developers Conference, because — let’s face it — you need the backing of major publishers and developers before you can begin to truly entice potential customers into leaving Steam or even Impulse.
In particular, three new features of GFW LIVE were stressed. First, there’s “Zero-day piracy protection and server-side authentication,” which means you can’t play your game before its intended release date, and you also can’t participate in online multiplayer without a valid account.
Secondly, new Marketplace APIs are being touted as a great source of revenue for developers, with the ability to design “unique in-game store fronts” potentially meaning sexier and better in-game integration. Lastly, subscribers can now access their GFW LIVE personal settings on any “compatible and connected Windows PC.”
As long as you’ve got some of the market, why not keep your current audience content so they stay with you, and possibly even gain new ground by attracting more companies to offer their games? That seems to be the idea behind this push, in my opinion.