A few days ago, we reported that the Xbox.com PC Marketplace would be shut down, so new PC game purchases would not be possible through that service. At the time, Microsoft said that everything previously purchased could “continue to be enjoyed” through the normal Games for Windows Live client. Bzzzzt!
According to the newly posted support page, Age of Empires Online will not be playable after the service shuts down. From the text, it seems as if the whole of the GFWL service will also be going the way of the dodo.
Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down. Please visit the Age of Empires Online forums for additional details.
That first bit seems to directly contradict the earlier statement about the PC Marketplace closure which raises a few questions. What’s going to happen to the PC versions of Dark Souls, Super Street Fighter Arcade Edition, or Viva Pinata? I can probably live without ever completing the Achievements for Halo 2 on PC, but what about Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War?
Update: The text regarding the GFWL service being shut down has been removed from the Age of Empires Online page. Perhaps we weren’t supposed to know yet? We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment.
Update 2: Here is the official response from Microsoft:
“Yesterday, an Age of Empires support web page communicated that the free to play Age of Empires Online will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. We believe in Windows/PC gaming and have long-term plans to grow our support. We expect there to be transitions as we build out new investments, but we remain committed to bringing first party gaming services and games to Windows for years to come. We will share more details in the future.”
Answering precisely nothing other than confirming the shutdown date.