Windows Opening Gates for Games on Demand

By Rakesh Raman

As Microsoft’s forays continue in the gaming-based entertainment market, the company is all set to sell PC games through a Web store. Launching Nov. 15, the Games for Windows Marketplace will offer PC gamers an array of games.

Microsoft has announced the Games for Windows Marketplace, a new online PC games store. It will combine the convenience of the Web with the instant distribution of on-demand games.

“With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end,” said Kevin Unangst, senior global director, PC and Mobile Gaming, at Microsoft.

“And by integrating with our existing Xbox LIVE and Windows Live services, we’ve made it easier than ever for millions of gamers to see for themselves how easy buying PC games can be.”

Of late, Microsoft has taken some big strides in the digital entertainment market. This fall, for example, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on to new markets, says Microsoft.

Zune will provide a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE. (Read: Zune Going Global with Multiscreen Entertainment)

With its digital entertainment offerings, the company is not only attracting individual consumers, but it has also roped in big corporate brands.

For example, Microsoft Advertising says that companies are bringing their brands to Kinect for Xbox 360, the new controller-free gaming and entertainment experience that responds to body movement.

Chevrolet, Sprint and T-Mobile USA Inc. will each launch respective ad campaigns throughout the Kinect console experience, “Kinect Sports,” “Kinect Adventures” and “Kinect Joy Ride” game titles. (Read: How Top Brands Will Use Kinect for Xbox 360)

The software major has added fun element to even its search utility, Bing. It is launching a multiplatform search experience and interactive game to help people decode Jay-Z’s life and lyrics. (Read: Go, Play with Microsoft Bing to Decode Jay-Z)

That’s not all. Even its new Windows Phone 7 will target fun buyers. With a host of fun features, including music and games, integrated into the new devices, Microsoft – with its partners – has introduced nine new Windows Phone 7 handsets. (Read: New Windows Phone 7: Phone for Fun)

Now, the Games for Windows Marketplace ( aims to remove the barriers between gamers and the games by offering the following:

Online access, anywhere. Optimized for speed, the store promises ultra-fast downloads; this means fewer clicks to purchase and download, delivering faster turnaround for gameplay. And since the service lives on the Web, gamers can download games on a PC, anytime, and can easily redownload games they purchase if needed.

Deals and discounts. Gamers can check out deals on select games every time they visit the Marketplace, as well as the Deal of The Week and other recurring and seasonal offers.

Game search functionality. Gamers can search by titles or genres to quickly find the games they want; they can even find new games from their favorite publishers with dedicated publisher pages.

Fresh design. The intuitive interface is to make browsing for games a simple experience. Gamers can easily navigate between pages as they search for a game.

Games for Windows Marketplace will launch with 100 titles.

Using the new marketplace, anyone with a Windows Live ID (Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows – LIVE or Zune account) can login and start shopping in the Games for Windows Marketplace.

The new store also supports Microsoft Points (as well as credit card purchasing), allowing users of Xbox LIVE, Zune Marketplace and Games for Windows — LIVE to use their Microsoft Points balance seamlessly across platforms.

The company made this announcement today, Oct. 22.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of Raman Media Network.

Photo courtesy: Microsoft

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Rakesh Raman