Microsoft Puts PC Game Downloads in the Browser - Free Animations for Your Website PLUS all the Latest News

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Microsoft wants to let PC gamers know it's still serious about delivering game software and is putting that idea to the test with a new system that places fewer roadblocks in the way of getting gamers connected to digital game downloads.

Today, the company is announcing a new online store that will let gamers buy digital copies of games--old and new--from just their browser. The site, which opens up on November 15th retains the Games for Windows Marketplace moniker, but is an online version of the store that's long been available through the company's Games For Windows Live software client--albeit with a few tweaks.

Users can browse this catalog of around 100 games, find out more about them, then make a purchase that downloads right in their browser. The client software is still needed for large game files, as was to explained CNET in an interview earlier this week with Xbox's group project manager Peter Orullian.

"For people who have the client--the client will morph into a tool they might use for different reasons, but if mostly what people were using the client for was just to go and purchase the games, that's what we've solved, because a lot of those people have said, 'It's just extra work," Orullian said.

Another step Microsoft has removed from the PC game buying experience is the need to buy games with Microsoft Points--the tech titan's virtual currency. If users have points in their account from Xbox or Zune marketplace transactions, they can still use those, but there is now an option to just pay with a credit or debit card. When asked if that had been a point of contention from within Microsoft, Orullian said it wasn't.

"I work really, really closely with the business manager [of Microsoft], and not once did he ever express any angst on this. So what I know on this is that this is feedback we had, and we wanted to have a simple way to purchase, and we just kind of marched set drum. We never had any kind of fight on that," Orullian said.

Besides the purchase option, Microsoft is using the refresh of the online games marketplace to change what kind of information can be presented to users. That includes things like add-ons, which if they're a part of the catalog will be included not just on the game page but at the point of purchase. This comes into play with games like Bethesda's Fallout series, which has a large amount of downloadable content. Now you see these downloadable items not just when you're exploring the game on its information page, but when you're just about to buy it--something the company is banking on as pulling in extra buys in the same way a user would buy a candy bar at a grocery stand checkout.


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