FPS developers Id Software and Epic have locked horns over the Games for Windows branding system introduced by Microsoft. Epic have refused to support the system, meaning that players of Unreal Tournament III on the 360 will not be playing against players of the PC version, whereas the possibility still exists for PC/PS3 cross-compatibility. Id on the other hand have come out in support of the system and say that anything that combats piracy and makes it easier to connect players with each other must be a good thing.
In a forum post on the utforums, Epic’s Mark Rein has said:
UT3 does not use Games for Windows LIVE. We have not decided about cross platform play between PC and PS3. We’re not 100% sure that users want that feature but if we get time we’ll play around with it and see how it works. In the mean time we plan to be able to serve the PS3 from PC servers so that should help us gets lots of great servers going.
To the relief of other posters. many of whom see Games for Windows Live as simply an attempt by Microsoft to make more money, ruining the gaming experience in the process. People have been able to play UT for years without having to pay fro the privilege, I don’t think any of the fans would have thanked them for lumbering them with Windows Live and the problems associated with it. Most of the discussion in the thread revolves around the proposed PC/PS3 cross-platform issue and how to balance games where players are using both control systems (pad/mouse and keyb.) Something which Microsoft ‘solved’ in Shadowrun by handicapping PC players.
Id have come down on the other side of the argument, saying that Games for Windows Live is “a legitimate progression of making the PC feel more – not like a console, but like a closed system.” Now this should ring warning bells for any PC gamer worth their salt. Implied in that statement are a whole raft of measures which will restrict the use to which you put your PC, when it comes to gaming at least. I’m a supporter of the Open Source Software movement, and deeply resent the stranglehold that Microsoft has on PC use in general, and PC gaming in particular. Windows should not be the only operating system which people make games for, which is what the Games for Windows initiative seems to be aiming towards. I would not be surprised if users of Games for Windows Live ended up paying for content and functionality in their games which has traditionally been available free of charge. Id try and put a respectable gloss on this by claiming it would reduce piracy which they say “is killing the industry.” What it really does is reduce consumer choice and freedom. I’ll tell you one thing, if a Windows Live account is required to play Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which don’t get me wrong is looking to be a great game, I certainly won’t be buying it.
(From and .)