Like an unpopular and neglected combination of game client, social platform and DRM system, Games for Windows Live is fast approaching its ultimate shutdown. Oh, hold on, that wasn't a clever analogy. That's what Games for Windows Live is. In preparation for its sort-of announced shutdown, a variety of games have been looking at ways to hack off the dying flesh, in the hope that such self-amputation will stop the creep of necrotic tissue, thus ensuring the survival of the host. Okay, that was a better analogy.
Codemasters have become the latest developer to announce their detachment plans, confirming over Twitter that a GfW:Live free version of rally racer Dirt 3 was being worked on.
@TweetingTommy32 We are working on it but it may not be until the new year.— Codemasters (@Codemasters) November 9, 2013
Dirt 3 was the last Codemasters game to use GfW:Live. The developer's subsequent releases, including F1 2012 and 2013, Grid 2 and Dirt: Showdown, all used Steamworks. As yet, the planned fate of the excellent Dirt 2 - also tied to GfW:Live remains unknown.
Games for Windows Live's shutdown was briefly announced through the support page for Age of Empires Online, before the webpage was updated and the closure confirmation removed. That so many games have, or are planning to switch to Steamworks confirms that there's some truth to these plans. If the original date was correct, the service will shutdown on the 1st July, 2014.
We've already seen a Steamworks shift from Bioshock 2 and the Arkham games, and Capcom recently announced that they were "looking into what options are available".