Microsoft is adding several new features to their Games for Windows LIVE service in order to make it more attractive to gamers and publishers and less attractive to pirates.
Microsoft first attacks PC game piracy with the introduction of zero-day piracy protection and server-side authentication, requiring that consumers verify their products before participating in online play. If that doesn't sell game publishers on the service, there's also a new Marketplace API that allows developers to integrate in-game stores, opening up new revenue streams without taking the gamer out of the game. Finally, players will be able to save their game settings to their Games for Windows LIVE account, allowing them to access them via any compatible PC.
"This update and other features currently in development represent a tipping point in the evolution of Games for Windows – LIVE as a leading online PC gaming network," said Ron Pessner, general manager of Games for Windows – LIVE. "In the coming months, we will continue to deliver on our promise to provide gamers and publishers with the industry's best connected gaming experiences through the LIVE service."
While the Games for Windows platform itself has been mildly popular with publishers and developers, far less have embraced the actual Games for Windows LIVE online gaming service. Perhaps these newly announced changes will signal a turnaround in that trend. Probably not, but good on Microsoft for giving it the old college try.