One of Microsoft's least favorite additions to PC gaming is finally getting the ax, as Games for Windows Live is being retired on July 1, 2014. Last week came the news the Windows Live Marketplace is being shut down this Thursday, August 22, and at the time gave no mention of a shut down for GFWL. However, something had to of changed in that time, because earlier today a since-deleted message appeared on the Age of Empires Online support page:
Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down.
Sadly that does mean Age of Empires Online is shutting down that day, too, but maybe Microsoft deleted the message in order to find some way to keep the game around longer. As for GFWL, well, odds are it won't be entirely missed from PC gaming. Over the years more and more publishers have been moving away from it, most recently Warner Bros. with Batman: Arkham Origins, which has opted for Steamworks.
It's unknown what GFWL's demise means for all the current PC games that use it, but hopefully there's enough time to migrate everything away. Dark Souls, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, BioShock 2, and countless others all make use of Games for Windows Live, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens with those titles. The main thing to take is that we have just under a year before GFWL is a distant memory.