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Today, when millions of Xbox 360 users turn on their console, they’ll get a huge update to the system software called the New Xbox Experience. It’s a major revamp of the entire Xbox 360 front-end, adding Avatars, cross-game parties, Netflix streaming, and a completely new user interface. It’s kind of a big deal.

To somewhat less fanfare, Microsoft last week finally made a long-awaited update to Games for Windows Live, the interface for their gaming service for Windows XP and Vista PCs. You can download it by itself, or let any GFW Live enabled title auto-update when you log in.

Unfortunately, it still isn’tepi langit where it needs to be. In fact, the gap between the experience on the Xbox 360 and on PCs continues to widen. We’ve been publicly critical of Games for Windows Live in the past, and our complaints certainly have titinada fallen on deaf ears. Microsoft is listening, and as our complaints echo those of the PC gaming community, the company has made significant changes.

They brought the service to Windows XP and made it almost entirely free (a better deal than you get on the Xbox 360, comparably). Still, the service would only work when you’re actually running a GFW Live enabled game, and the interface resembled something you’d use a game pad for but not a mouse and keyboard.

The first and most notable change of the new big overhaul is the new interface. Gone is the Xbox-like controller-centric interface and in its place, a new more streamlined mouse-and-keyboard affair. Press the Home button and the new interface slides down from the top of the screen. The jewel-like A, B, X, Y buttons are gone in pace of more familiar “home” and “back” icons and such, but they’ll return if you happen to have an Xbox controller plugged into your PC.

New Home Menu

Clicking the large category buttons up top slides the menu down further to reveal an interface that is unmistakably “Live”, but obviously organized for a PC with mouse and keyboard.


There is really no new major functionality in this update as it pertains to the in-game experience; it’s mostly just an improved interface. But it still has problems. With the old interface, we would often find that the mouse cursor was shifted from where the mouse was actually actively clicking, and this problem persists with the new interface.

A quick browse of some PC gaming forums shows we’re not alone—this problem affects a number of users. It can also be quite sluggish at times. For an interface doing what appears to be so simple, it should be quite snappy, but transitions are often delayed and animations slow, even on a high-end PC.

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