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Published by GameFront.com 10 years ago , last updated 2 months ago
Posted on July 26, 2008, Chris Unangst: GFW Live and Steam "Trying to do Two Different Things"
Most would consider Games for Windows Live and Steam to be directly competing with each other. While Steam does have its store and digital distribution aspect to it, it also works as an overlay in games that gives you access to a friends list, messaging and — in some games — achievements. Sounds a lot like the most compelling features Live has, doesn’t it?
In an interview with 1UP, Games for Windows head Kevin Unangst tried to differentiate the two platforms out of what I amount to a desire to be anything but a Steam competitor. Valve’s platform clearly has a strong hold on the market right now, and it won’t be easy to gain ground on them for Microsoft, Stardock, or anyone else.
In regards to how significant of a challenge Steam’s head store poses for GFW Live, Unangst said, “I think we’re really trying to do two different things. Steam started many years ago, and now they’ve got a great distribution platform that’s being used by quite a few people, and it’s great. I think our focus is, how do we consistently deliver value-add to PC games? We’ve got a multiplayer system that nobody can match, we’ve got achievements for both single-player and multiplayer, we’ve got cross-platform play, we’ve got that plumbing that’s even easier to implement as a result of this. We’re just continuing to give developers tools that are going to get those consumers excited about the gameplay experiences.”
As I said, Steam already covers some of those bases, like achievements and Steamworks being an easy way for developers to implement Steam support into their games. But Unangst doesn’t believe he’s disregarding the competition, and that there’s room on PC for GFW Live and other services.
“I think there’s plenty of room on the PC for all kinds of systems,” he said. “I think consumers and developers will make their own choices. Certainly we are competing in some ways, and over time I think that will continue. But Windows is all about choice. That’s what’s great. They, like many others, are moving into the digital distribution space. You’ve got Gamespy — that’s been in the multiplayer space for years, when you’re talking about game developers having a choice to integrate multiplayer gaming into their system, that’s really the target, when we look at what developers are making choices between. I think our focus on content, our focus on a broad set of content, and really keeping the game at the center is what’s going to define us moving ahead.”
One of the major fundamental differences between GFW Live and Steam today is that you can buy games through Steam. When he was asked if GFW Live might be interested in selling games through Live, Unangst replied, “I think that’ll be a natural evolution of where our service would go — it’s something that’ll be on the road map, but not anything we’re ready to talk about specifically today.”
image via Sarcastic Gamer
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