Profitant de la GameDevelopers Conference, Microsoft a annoncé ce midi une nouvelle version de Games for Windows Live, qui transforme grosso modo cette couche jusque là complètement inutile en Steam-like. GFW Live nouvelle version reprend en effet la plupart des features de Steamworks, la suite gratuite de features que Valve fournit aux développeurs qui veulent utiliser Steam :

  • Connexion obligatoire pour jouer : c’est l’un des principaux arguments de Valve contre le piratage : Steam empêche le piratage avant release, et GFW Live veut faire pareil. Microsoft axe d’ailleurs une bonne partie du communiqué de presse là-dessus.
  • Sauvegarde online des préférences : comme Steamcloud, dont l’intégration a doucement débuté dans Left 4 Dead mais qui n’est pas encore présent dans Steamworks, GFW Live stocke les préférences utilisateurs sur le net, afin de retrouver sa configuration quelle que soit la machine.
  • Enfin, et jusqu’à présent c’est une feature que Steam n’a pas, GFW Live va permettre aux jeux d’intégrer leur propre boutique in-game (a priori, il faudra, comme sur Xbox Live, payer en points Microsoft). Ca veut dire plus de DLC payant… On aurait pu s’en passer.

Valve n’a pas mis plus de quelques heures à réagir pour annoncer une nouvelle techno antipiratage qui rend obsolète celle de Games for Windows Live.

Parmi les ajouts à Steamworks, la technologie Custom Executable Generation (CEG) renforce les solutions anti-piratages déjà présentes dans Steamworks. CEG est une approche anti-piratage qui tient compte du client, et crée une version unique du jeu pour chaque utilisateur. Cela lui permet d’installer le jeu sur plusieurs machines sans limite et sans rootkit.

On est curieux de voir comment ça marche en pratique. Valve annonce que cette nouvelle techno rend les DRM inutiles, ce dont on ne se plaindra pas… sauf si ça les remplace en réalité par un DRM Valve.

Les deux autres ajouts à Steamworks sont la possibilité pour tous les développeurs de fournir du DLC (comme dans la boutique de GFW Live, donc) et d’utiliser l’outil de matchmaking de Left 4 Dead.

Les deux communiqués de presse :[–SUITE–]

Goodbye Pirates; Hello Games for Windows – LIVE

Windows gaming took center stage today in San Francisco at the annual Game Developers Conference, as Microsoft announced new features coming to the Games for Windows – LIVE online gaming service and community:

· Anti-piracy Solution: Zero-day piracy protection and server-side authentication help prevent game piracy before street date, and protect publishers and consumers by requiring authentication for online play

· In-game Marketplace: New Marketplace APIs let developers create unique in-game store fronts and experiences surrounding the sale of additional content, providing developers and publishers with new revenue streams, and consumers with a seamless gaming experience

· Roaming: PC gamers can now save their personal settings back to their Games for Windows – LIVE account in the cloud, providing access to their settings on any compatible and connected Windows PC

“This update and other features currently in development represent a tipping point in the evolution of Games for Windows – LIVE as a leading online PC gaming network,” said Ron Pessner, general manager of Games for Windows – LIVE. “In the coming months, we will continue to deliver on our promise to provide gamers and publishers with the industry’s best connected gaming experiences through the LIVE service.”

In the last six months, the Games for Windows – LIVE community has seen staggering growth thanks in part to the launch of a more PC-friendly interface last November, and the addition of some of the year’s biggest and best Windows games, including #1 best-sellers “Grand Theft Auto IV,” “Fallout 3” and “Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II.”

“As a publisher, no one is more excited to see the continued growth and evolution of Games for Windows – LIVE than Microsoft Game Studios,” said Dave Luehmann, general manager of Window games for Microsoft Game Studios. “We have several projects underway which will incorporate the LIVE service, and we’re continuing to build new developer relationships here at GDC to bring the best in the industry to Games for Windows – LIVE.”

STEAMWORKS MAKES DRM OBSOLETE

Suite of Services Expands With Customer Executable Generation (CEG), Support for DLC, Matchmaking, and More

March 24, 2009 – Valve today announced a new set of advanced features delivered in Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that are available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.
Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.
The new features also include support for in-game downloadable content (DLC) and matchmaking. The in-game DLC support allows developers to deliver new content as they choose (paid or free) from inside the game itself, allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. The Steamworks matchmaking now includes the robust lobby system shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.
“Delivering this extension of services on Steamworks first anniversary, demonstrates our commitment to continually develop the platform to better serve the community working with these tools,” said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. “As we roll out these features, we continue to look for new ways make PC games easier to create and better for customers to experience.”
Steamworks was launched in early 2008 and has already shipped in products distributed at retail and electronically with major PC releases such as Empire: Total War, Dawn of War II, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and Football Manager 2009.
The Steamworks services are offered free of charge to developers and publishers around the world. In addition to the services added in this spring’s extension, Steamworks offers support for Steam Achievements, Steam Community, Auto Updating, Statistics, Steam Cloud and more.
Steamworks is fully integrated with the Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC games that has grown to reach 20 million accounts throughout the world, up from 15 million accounts just one year ago. Steam now offers over 500 applications to gamers in every country of the world.
For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com