We give Microsoft credit for finally understanding that what works on a console won't necessarily appeal to PC gamers. First, it stripped away the much-derided, fee-based Games for Windows Live Gold membership level. Now the entire Games for Windows Live interface has received an update. The Xbox 360-style "blade" interface is gone, replaced by a fully mouse-driven drop-down menu system. If it only worked as well as it should.
To clarify, you're not intended to download a GFW Live client for your PC, at least not yet (technically you can). For the moment, you're instead supposed to launch any GFW Live-enabled game, log in to the Live service, and from there follow the update prompt. Microsoft says a separate downloadable client is coming, along with a PC gaming-oriented Marketplace that will sell updated content for GFW Live-supported games.
For now, you can use the GFW Live service to socialize and find people to play with from your Windows or Xbox Live friends lists. It also includes an achievement system, as well as an update monitor, which can be both a blessing and a curse. For example, the recent Fallout 3 patch has its share of problems, but GFW Live requires you to update, or else it will log you out (the same is true of Valve's Steam service, GFW Live's primary competition).… Read more