Microsoft has confirmed that it will release a Marketplace offering downloadable titles for Games for Windows Live. Additionally, the company has now removed subscription fees its online service.
The marketplace offering is slated for release by the end of this year, but Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped on a more specific date.
The news comes out of Gamefest 08 in Seattle.
Microsoft is also remaining vague on exactly what sort of content we can expect from the Marketplace. Kevin Unangst, Microsoft's senior global director of Games for Windows (and from the look of his name, from a long line of happy people) did, however, have this to say - “Now that we'll have the Marketplace that we'll distribute content on, the content does not have to be identical, the game types may be different.
"Pricing models, which we're not going into detail on today, may be different as well, based on what the expectations and needs are of the PC market versus the console market.”†
Speaking about why Games for Windows Live is ditching its subscription fees, Unangst said, “Since we introduced Games for Windows Live we've listened to developers and to PC gamers and they said look, there's a baseline expectation that multiplayer is a service that is just free on Windows; that is just how it works.”
If that makes you hope you won't have to pay Xbox Live subscription fees – tough luck. “This announcement in no way has an effect on our Xbox Live plan”, said Unangst.
Games for Windows Live previously had pricing similar to its Xbox counterpart, but competing services such as Steam don't typically charge for their offerings.Sources: Shacknews, †Cnet