Struggling to compete in the consumer electronics and mobile phone market Microsoft has moved to leverage their gaming strength with the launch of a games application store.In an announcement on Friday Microsoft says that it will make purchasing PC games easier especially for PC owners who are still using their Windows OS. As part of their offering Microsoft is offering is integration with Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Windows Live and Zune Marketplace services, allowing users to login using their accounts on those services to make purchases.
Microsoft said that gamers can repeatedly download purchased games, be presented with weekly deals and even search for games based on genre, all of which sounds a lot like Steam, a system that made its debut in the summer of 2003 and had limited success.
The Inquirer in the UK said that Microsoft has managed to get a few big name publishers to sign up for its marketplace, including Rockstar Games, Capcom and Square Enix among others. Then there’s Microsoft’s own Game Studios, but since its major titles are Halo and Gears of War, which are more associated with console gaming, it’s not the really biggest draw on the PC. In fact the titles that have been big PC titles in the past few years are strangely absent, such as the Call of Duty series.
Valve’s concern will come from the fact that even it cannot compete with Microsoft’s marketing budget. However, the library of games and the number of publishers that see Steam as a vital delivery system have ballooned in recent years, which should help the firm put up a significant fight in the PC games distribution market.
The UK site said that Microsoft’s decision to create a games section on its Windows Marketplace shows that the firm hasn’t completely given up on PC gaming, even if its Xbox console has done a pretty good job of killing it off.