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Monday, September 18, 2006

Games For Windows

Microsoft launches it's Games For Windows branding today. I had earlier bashed Microsoft for rolling out this campaign with mostly marketing tactics. There is one thing I like though ... see if you can spot it:

Say goodbye to the old PC game boxes. Can't say I'll miss them. But this is all you're going to see for the most part. The games that carry these logos will support wide-screen displays, will support 64-bit versions of Windows, can be launched from within Windows Media Center, and support the Xbox 360 game controller for the PC. The games have to meet guidelines for easier instllation, improved reliability, and support Vista features such as the Games Explorer and Parental Controls.
-- A+E Interactive: Microsoft Kicks Off Games For Windows Logo

Find it? .... how about "support the Xbox 360 game controller". Now, it's fairly incidental and an almost obvious move for Microsoft ... but it goes back to what I was saying about game development with Apple. Microsoft has released a branded controller and centralized it with a stamp of approval.

Why is this a fundamental change? Well, try to have your friends over to play a PC game with nothing more than a keyboard and a mouse. The key/mouse combo is awesome for the single player - but gaming is becoming more and more of a living room exercise and often with other people. A game controller solves this ... and a standardized game controller eases developer worries about what buttons players can push.

Many Macs these days ship with an Apple Remote. Why not offer an upgraded version that could double as a game controller?

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