Microsoft will be putting its PC games marketplace to bed next week, bringing an end to the company's efforts to rival Valve's popular Steam marketplace.
The Xbox.com Games for Windows Live PC Marketplace will shut down on August 22. Microsoft's long lambasted Games for Windows Live client will still function, so people can keep playing games they've already bought, but without a way to buy new games, Microsoft's service is effectively in limbo.
For buying new games, players will have to take their business to other marketplaces, such as Steam, Amazon, Origin, or GOG. As for downloadable content in games that have already been purchased, Microsoft says it'll be up to the publisher to continue selling that content.
Microsoft Points will also be going away after the next Xbox 360 title update, as announced in July. Although Microsoft is encouraging people to spend unused points now, the company doesn't specifically say that users will lose their points after August 22. A support page says that the next time users make a purchase, Microsoft will convert their entire balance to real currency, in an amount equal to or greater than the value of Microsoft Points.
The closure of Xbox.com's PC marketplace might have signified an exit from PC gaming for Microsoft, if not for the company's recent hire of Jason Holtman. A former Valve employee, Holtman is credited with getting publishers on board with the Steam marketplace. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Holtman confirmed that he would be “focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment.”
It's unclear exactly what Holtman will be doing at Microsoft, but chances are it involves creating something better than the soon-to-be-dead PC games shop. Something more cross-platform-friendly, perhaps?