Microsoft’s closing of the online marketplace comes days after hiring Valve’s former Steam chief

Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live prepares to live no more

Days after Microsoft revealed its hiring of Jason Holtman, former chief of Valve’s Steam platform, it has announced that the Games for Windows Live marketplace will be closing on August 22nd.

The closure, announced on the Xbox support site, comes after Holtman issued statements confirming a stronger focus by Microsoft ‘on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment’. Holtman, who spent eight years making Steam the extremely popular digital distribution service it is today, left Valve in February under unspecified circumstances.

Games for Windows Live, which was originally launched as an alternative to Steam’s online marketplace, was criticised by gamers as showing a lack of interest by Microsoft in the PC, resulting in shoddy Xbox ports and overly-restrictive DRM.

With the launch of Windows 8, however, many have perceived Microsoft as returning their focus to PC releases. Valve, on the other hand, have begun to move away from a relationship with the Windows OS, supporting an increasing amount of games for the Mac and Linux platforms and exploring the possibilities of a console-like Steam Box.

While games will no longer be available for purchase on the Games for Windows Live marketplace, any existing purchases are said to be still be available for download for the time being, with the availability of DLC purchases dependant on each game. Microsoft Points, the currency used to purchase items both on the PC Games for Windows Live marketplace and on the Xbox 360, are also scheduled to be retired as part of the release of the Xbox One, with any points now being converted to currency.

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