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Microsoft to open web-based gaming store November 15

By Ed Oswald, Betanews

In an attempt to keep the PC in the minds of consumers as a capable gaming console, Microsoft on Friday announced that it would launch a web-based gaming store that would allow for the purchase of digital copies of both new and old titles. The store opens on November 15.

While Microsoft itself is a producer of some titles through its own in-house game development subsidiaries, the store would also house titles from its partners as well. “We plan to deliver some of our biggest and best PC franchises on Games for Windows Marketplace from day one,” Capcom strategy chief Christian Svensson said in a statement.

The store is essentially a rebrand of the Games for Windows Live offering, although with a few key differences.

For example, users were forced to use Microsoft’s system of game purchases, called “Points,” under the old model. With the relaunched store, users would now purchase these games with standard currency, although Microsoft Points would still be accepted.

Games for Windows Live also required a client in order to download larger game files — the new version will not, and will be completely browser-based. Another change is that users would be permitted to redownload games that they have previously purchased.

For games that have add-on content for purchase, the available content would be listed at the time of purchase. Previously, Microsoft just listed it on the games information page itself — a change it expects to help generate additional revenue for its developers.

Microsoft seems to want to reduce the amount of roadblocks currently in place in PC gaming, and using a system of digital delivery which has seemed to work so well for the standard set-top box consoles.

“With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end,” Microsoft’s gaming director Kevin Unangst said.

Copyright Betanews, Inc. 2010

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