Microsoft To Launch Online PC Game Store - InformationWeek

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Microsoft To Launch Online PC Game Store

Games For Windows Marketplace plans to offer a host of popular PC games for download from Microsoft and other publishers, including Halo, Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto.

Best PC Games Of All Time
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Slideshow: Best PC Games Of All Time
Microsoft plans to launch next month an online PC games marketplace that will make it easier for gamers to download popular Microsoft titles from such franchises as Halo and Gears of War as well as games like Grand Theft Auto from other publishers.

With the Games for Windows Marketplace, unveiled Friday, Microsoft is dropping the special client gamers need to install before being able to download games from Microsoft's current Games for Windows Live. Instead, gamers will only need a browser to access Marketplace.

Microsoft plans to launch Marketplace November 15 with 100 titles. Along with the titles listed above, Microsoft plans to include Fable: The Lost Chapters and Flight Simulator from its own Game Studios. In addition, independent publishers will have separate pages to offer their own titles. Those companies include Rockstar Games, which owns the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Capcom Entertainment, 2K Games and Square Enix.

In the future, Microsoft said it would offer the upcoming CarneyVale from its own studios the same day it lands on store shelves, while independent publishers will also be adding games, such as recent hits Dead Rising 2 and Lost Planet 2 from Capcom.

With Marketplace, Microsoft is removing what it calls the "barriers between gamers and games" that existed in its current store. The browser-based interface will deliver faster downloads and let customers re-download purchased games. In addition, people can access the store with a Windows Live, Xbox Live, Games for Windows Live or Zune account.

While Microsoft's Zune media player failed to make a dent in Apple's market-leading iPod, the software maker's video-game business has been on a roll. In July, Microsoft led the video-game industry in console sales, shipping 443,500 units of the Xbox 360, beating Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft's highly anticipated Kinect motion-sensing controller for the Xbox 360 is expected to drive sales into next year. The add-on device is set to ship Nov. 4.


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