Sunday, October 4, 2009

.NET Games for Windows - LIVE version 3

This is a cross-post between BrickGamers and BrickTech to help gamers out who may be having problems with modern games which rely on Games for Windows - LIVE online service from Microsoft.

This online software service is integrated into games like Halo 2, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, Warhammer 40,000 - Dawn of War II, Street Fighter IV, Batman - Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, and so on. You can see the full list of Games for Windows - LIVE here.

Keep in mind this is different from Games for Windows, which you can see the list here, but is categorised alphabetically. To see it as a whole page, go here.

To see an even bigger list, including upcoming games, and BOTH Games for Windows AND Games for Windows - LIVE games, check out this full list here.

So there's 2 types of Windows games? Sorta. You see, Microsoft, in order to "Get into the Game" so to speak, has ventured on a branding exercise to promote games which are designed for Windows with the "Games for Windows" moniker. The Games for Windows - LIVE is an enhancement which requires an online service component called Games for Windows - LIVE to be installed - even if you don't play that game online.

What this LIVE component does is enable linkage with you and other gamers who have the same such game installed - be it on the PC or Microsoft Xbox or Xbox 360 gaming console. Of course, if that said game doesn't support multi-player, then you can't play with others, but you can still link with them to see their scores, chat, etc.

The whole idea is to integrate Windows gamers with Xbox gamers, since in many places in the world, like Malaysia, Microsoft doesn't launch the Xbox here. This is due to rampant piracy and slow broadband, making Xbox LIVE online gaming service being not condusive for Microsoft. Their ultimate aim is to link up all users of Microsoft products to LIVE Anywhere. Feel free to make jokes if you reverse the LIVE word above, it becomes...EVIL :)

Anyway, this Games for Windows - LIVE also ties up with their Windows LIVE online services, which the most popular being Windows LIVE Messenger, followed by Windows LIVE Mail. So what's this got to do with gamers?

Some Windows XP gamers are unaware the latest Games for Windows - LIVE, version 3 (30MB), requires Microsoft's .NET Framework software to be installed, with the latest being version 3.5 Service Pack 1 (200MB). Games for Windows - LIVE, version 2 (20MB), does not require .NET to be present. You can see what's new with version 3 here.

By the way, if you're having problems installing the MSI (Microsoft Installer) installation file of Games for Windows - LIVE version 2 above, your MSI might be outdated. You can get the latest version 4.5 here.

Going back to XP Games, so if you're having problems playing some of the new games on XP which need Games for Windows - LIVE, you can either install Games for Windows - LIVE version 2, or go for version 3 but you'll need .NET as well. Some of you may already have .NET for games like Sims 3 which need it. Of course, if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7, it comes with .NET already.