Games for Windows

Information for Developers

Table of Contents

What is Games for Windows — LIVE?

Games for Windows — LIVE extends Xbox LIVE online experiences to Windows providing connected gaming experiences that protect publisher IP, reduce costs, extend title life, improve monetization, and provide quality gaming experiences as part of a vibrant online community.

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Why should I release my title on Games for Windows — LIVE?

Features that add value for publishers are our top priority and our product plan is built around publisher, developer, and consumer feedback. In addition to the core LIVE features our platform has offered since the beginning, such as achievements, friends and rich presence, matchmaking, cross-platform game play, and voice and messaging, Games for Windows — LIVE now offers the following features:

Server Side Authentication (SSA) - is a free piracy protection service. SSA associates access keys with both a product and a gamertag, binding a game to a LIVE account. Through this process, the game can confirm with the LIVE service that the user has a license for the game and, if not, can deny that user access to the LIVE service thereby limiting play to offline only. This is beneficial for single-player games as it enables you to tie any functionality you choose to the availability of the LIVE connection and potentially tie the entire game (including single-player and offline portions) to SSA. SSA requires an Internet connection.

Zero Day Piracy Protection (ZDPP) - is a free service to help mitigate piracy prior to launch. Through a simple tool, the developer can encrypt their game, or portions of their game, such that they will be non-functional prior to the launch date. ZDPP requires one-time access to the Internet to check whether the launch date has passed.

In-Game Marketplace (IGM) - enables an in-game experience for the purchase of items available through the LIVE Marketplace. Games for Windows — LIVE provides a single simple API to open a generic marketplace as well as a full set of APIs to create fully customized marketplaces. IGM is an effective means of increasing the engagement and purchasing behavior of consumers.

Anti-Cheat and Anti-Hack - Games for Windows — LIVE offers extensive technologies to help protect your IP. These include:

  • Debugger detection
  • Protected buffers to keep critical data from being used in a malicious way
  • A ripple launcher for use with third party copy protection
  • Module authentication to prevent code-modification cheats by validating code at load time
  • A secure network layer that is designed to prevent network attacks by securing network traffic
  • Challenge response system that is downloaded at logon and at runtime to check the integrity of the client
  • Community feedback system that helps to self-report cheaters and bad behavior

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How much effort does it cost to develop for Games for Windows — LIVE?

The Games for Windows — LIVE development process is streamlined to offer significant cost savings to you, the publisher. There are a total of 5 API calls to get the Guide up and running and the code interacting with the LIVE service is almost identical to Xbox 360 code. Over 85% of the APIs are identical between Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows — LIVE. If your title has an Xbox 360 SKU, the investment to implement Games for Windows — LIVE is minimal. In fact, using other online gaming platforms will result in an increased risk and cost.

The Games for Windows — LIVE SDK provides all of the components and tools you need to successfully develop with the platform, and extensive documentation is available both with the SDK and also online to make your experience as painless as possible.

In addition, the same developer support infrastructure is available as with Xbox 360. Game developer support is available to assist you with any issues and engineering assistance is available including site visits and architectural review through XNA Developer Connection.

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How do I sign up?

To get started, please contact your Microsoft Account Manager. If you do not have an Account Manager, please contact us for more information.

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How do I sell my game on the marketplace if it is not a Games for Windows – LIVE game?

To get started, please contact your Microsoft Account Manager. If you do not have an Account Manager, please contact us for more information.

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