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Games for Windows
The logo for Games for Windows.
Year introduced[[2006]]
WebsiteOfficial site

Games for Windows is a brand owned by Microsoft and introduced in 2006 to coincide with the release of Windows Vista. The brand represents a standardized technical certification program and online service for Windows games, bringing a measure of regulation to the PC game market in much the same way that console manufacturers regulate their platforms. The branding program is open to both first-party and third-party publishers.

This was later expanded to include Games for Windows – Live, the online gaming service for Games for Windows-branded PC titles. Not all Games for Windows will have "live" content, but those that do will have access to Microsoft's Live network for online play and other features, including voice chat, messaging and friends lists, accessed from an in-game menu called the "Guide". Users can log in with their Xbox 360 gamer-tags to gain Games for Windows achievements and play games and chat across platforms (not every game supports cross-platform play.) Some features, including cross-platform multi-player and multi-player achievements, initially required a subscription to Live Gold.

However, on July 22, 2008, Microsoft announced at Gamefest 2008 that Games for Windows Live is now free of charge. This means that all users are able to access features that would normally be available to only Gold members, such as the features listed above. In addition, Microsoft also announced that a Games for Windows Live Marketplace will launch this fall. Like its console counterpart, Xbox Live Marketplace, users will be able to download content such as game demos, add-ons, and gamer pics. Some items will be free, while others will need to be paid for using Microsoft Points, as determined by the publisher of said items. Microsoft also plans to make the Games for Windows Live interface more PC friendly, and reduce the technical requirements for developers. This is in direct competition with the leading digital distributor on computers, Steam.