If you’re a connoisseur of the Xbox 360, you no doubt have been bitten at some point by the gamerscore bug. It’s all about those elusive achievements that continually pour more and more useless points into your big digital pot. The points don’t really mean anything and aren’t worth anything, but accumulating them sure is addictive. Microsoft is acutely aware of that, and they’re using our innate drive to horde achievements as an incentive to jump on board their new Games for Windows Live program.
The Xbox Live Marketplace has long been a central hub for picking up games for your Xbox 360 digitally. Now Microsoft is porting the experience to the PC with Games for Windows Live, which released this week. With a download and installation interface similar to other digital distribution platforms like the venerable Steam, Games for Windows Live lets gamers use either their Microsoft Points or direct credit card payments to download games. It then manages the installation and running of the games, as well as the purchase and installation of any downloadable content.
The real selling point that got me to give it a shot, however, is all about the aforementioned achievement points. On his blog, Major Nelson tempted me with the promise of a new freebie puzzle game called Tinker that would allow me to play from my desktop and unlock some brand new exclusive achievement points, thereby becoming the envy of every Jerry and Jane on the block. How could I turn it down?
I have yet to actually give Tinker a spin, but the download of Microsoft’s client (which you can get at the official site right here) was painless, as were the download and installation of the game itself. A quick spin through the Marketplace shows a number of high profile games available for download and play, including Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 4, and Grand Theft Auto 4. The selection is a little limited right now, but the service is just starting up. It looks like it could be a lot of fun once they fill it out with some more smaller-scale games like those currently offered on the Xbox Live Arcade.
What do you think, gamers? Is this worth the free download?