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What to expect from the Games for Windows Live Marketplace


One part of the new (Improved? You decide.) Games for Windows Live is, well, live. That would be the in-game interface we covered yesterday. It's fast, functional, and even swaps Windows UI elements out for 360 controller button icons when you connect a 360 controller to your PC (a nice touch).

The next element of the GFWL reset is due next month: the Marketplace. We got to go hands-on with this standalone app and ... it's very much what you would expect. The Marketplace app will become available once the first GFWL DLC rolls out; load up a GFWL game and it will auto-download. Similarly, GFWL games will check upon starting up if there are any title updates – just like 360 games – and download / install them with no muss, no fuss.

The Marketplace app runs in a small, tabbed window. The main screen has options for add-on content, trailers and demos – again, pretty much what you'd expect. Right on the main screen is a display of your current MS point balance, with an option immediately below it to purchase more.

Also on the main screen is a spotlight on new DLC, demos, videos, etc. and a listing of content available related to your most recently played games. Clicking through the other tabs provides direct access to a full screen for DLC, the media you've downloaded, and a screen for launching demos.

The app doesn't need to be running while playing GFWL titles, but will load when you select it from the in-game interface (or a title's menu). We asked if it's skinnable and were told no; what you see is what you get. There also aren't any full game downloads yet, but MS says they're definitely on the way – as are the very long-awaited Games for Windows Live Arcade titles. These are on the Games For Windows team's roadmap ... it just hasn't been unfolded to reveal exactly where they're at yet.

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