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Games for Windows - Live

Microsoft's online gaming service

Games for Windows -- Live is a gaming service operated by Microsoft Corporation. Last updated in 2012, Games for Windows -- Live is accessible to users playing game titles bearing the "Games for Windows" brand on PCs running the Windows operating system (Microsoft's website provides the opportunity to download Microsoft Windows 7 or 8). In essence, the service allows players to connect to the Windows Live social media service while playing a branded game, giving the player access to an extensive network of community and support features.

The Games for Windows -- Live Interface

The service's interface underwent a number of transformations, due to the changes in the list of services offered through Windows Live. At the time of the last update, it was standardized to include:

  • Text and voice messaging access
  • Friends list
  • "Recent players" list
  • A player-to-player private chat feature
  • A customizable personal settings tab

Through these features, users are able to interface with a worldwide community of gamers playing "Games for Windows" branded titles.

Games for Windows -- Live User Information

In the Games for Windows -- Live interface, user information is tracked in four main ways:

  • Gamertag. A player's "Gamertag" is, in essence, his or her community handle. It is a username of up to 15 characters which uniquely identifies the player. While it is possible for one player to have multiple Gamertags, each player's statistics and information are unique to a single Gamertag, and are non-transferrable. You can search for other users and interact with other community members through Gamertags.
  • Gamerscore. The "Gamerscore" is a tracking tool which keeps tabs on your performance on all games played while you are actively logged into the system. A cumulative measurement of your achievement, your Gamerscore can be increased by passing certain benchmarks in branded games, such as defeating a boss, clearing a level or finishing a game.
  • Gamercard. This is an informational field, in which facts about your gaming achievements are tracked and shared with the community. It contains information including your Gamertag, your current Gamerscore, and a list of branded games you have played recently. Users are able to control who can and cannot see your Gamercard at any given time, much like you were able to customize your status on Windows Live Messenger.
  • TrueSkill. A unique feature of the Games for Windows -- Live platform, the TrueSkill feature was designed to facilitate equitable matchups between players engaging in head-to-head play on a certain title. The TrueSkill score is calculated using a unique algorithm, which analyzes an aggregate of data relating to your abilities and previous achievements in both the game to be played and titles which feature similar gameplay. It is intended to serve as a kind of overall scorecard, indicating your "true skill" at a certain game or a certain genre of games.

In addition to the Games for Windows -- Live community tool, users can also take advantage of the former Games for Windows Marketplace. The marketplace supports the digital distribution of a large library of game titles, and makes it fast and easy for users to download and play new titles. In 2011, the Games for Windows Marketplace was merged with the download store on the Xbox website. To access available titles, visit the Xbox website. New titles are added to the online store on an ongoing basis, so be sure to check the site regularly for the latest information.

Games for Windows -- Live supports healthy and robust competition between community members and adds entertainment value to the PC gaming experience. Look for PC games bearing the "Games for Windows" brand logo and get going on Games for Windows -- Live!