Microsoft Effectively Resurrects Games for Windows Live, Has Not Learned Anything

By Published March 01, 2016 at 5:10 pm
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Good news! The Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming to PC. Windows made this surprise announcement just today -- but for some reason this announcement comes with a little deja vu. Why does it feel so familiar?

Here’s one reason: It was almost 10 years ago… Halo 2 was finally, after three long years, coming to PC; but what we weren’t prepared for was:

gfwl-halo-2-box

That’s right, Halo 2 was only supported by Windows Vista -- which already had a terrible reputation and condemning launch. And if you wanted to play online? You had to play with Windows Live, another platform lacking in reputation that has spurred countless “how to bypass” articles leading up to its death.

Gears of War UE coming to PC reminds us of Halo 2 and Windows Vista. GoW UE’s release platform is the Windows Store, found in Windows 10. The Windows Store has been causing something of a commotion lately. The Windows Store features more restrictions than options -- like Windows Live on Vista, games in the Windows Store only run on Windows 10, not Windows 7 or 8. These games will also require DirectX 12 (and, therefore, supporting hardware), regardless of whether the games were ground-up built for the new API. Like most games and applications, Windows Store apps are installed as ‘Universal Windows Applications’ which locks the game files and doesn’t give the user access to an .exe file. This means limited ability to mod and no ability to load a game into an interface, such as Steam, further condemning Microsoft’s inability to recognize what the players have come to expect and want.

Likewise users, can’t turn off v-sync or use any kind of SLI or CrossFire configurations. And since game files are locked, users can’t even override this with software like the nVidia Control Panel. We’ve also seen that FPS overlays and key binding software do not work with Windows Store games, another nail in the coffin of Windows Store-bound titles.

So -- can you get Gears of War UE on PC? Sure, and 30 bucks isn’t a bad price tag for the game, either. But dealing with all the Windows restrictions kills the potential. This is precisely why we had problems with games like DiRT 3 and Batman -- it’s more overhead, interfaces, networks, and restrictions that inevitably break precisely when you want to sit-down and play your game, even if it’s singleplayer. Windows Store is a death sentence to games which are exclusively released on the platform, ignoring however much MDF Microsoft allocates its partners.

Sorry -- not “your” game. You’re just licensing the right to access it.

Forgot that bit.

- Keegan “HornetSting” Gallick.

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