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While Vista hasn’t been welcomed very warmly by gamers, due to its performance not being much better than it’s predecessor, it certainly seems as if it’s ready to make amends. Microsoft has made a Windows Gaming Experience (WGX) Group to deliver great games to the largest gamer base ( bigger than console user bases ), that is the Windows Operating System.

There have been 4 job postings on this today, from which it’s obvious that:

  • WGX will be working on a better Games for Windows Live web service, probably taking better inspiration from Xbox 360.
  • The new Games for Windows Live wont just be targeted at hardcore gamers ie Gears of Wars lovers. It’ll have something for casual gamers too.
  • Games for Windows Marketplace. Bring it on Microsoft! With PC specific features including: recommendation engines and user reviews and ratings. And as Kevin Unangst said enabling game content, add-ons, demos, trailers.
  • Advertising platform for all of Games for Windows. This could potentially mean more free games, or low cost games. I’ll take either!
  • Publisher content and Digital Distribution. This is already available for Xbox 360.

It’s fairly obvious that Microsoft are implementing a tried and tested formula from Xbox 360. I personally can’t wait for this. This along with Game update notifications coming to Games Explorer means big things for Windows gamers. So, hold on and don’t get that console yet. You might find a better console in Windows very soon!

For more on the Marketplace, you can check out Microsoft Senior Global Director of Games For Windows, Kevin Unangst’s interview with PCWorld

Here are the job postings in detail:

Software Development Engineer

The Windows Gaming Experience team is an agile development team focused on making games a first class citizen on the Windows OS platform. Gaming on the Windows platform is a huge opportunity: each year over 14 million people play on MSN Games, over 60 million people play on Windows Live Messenger, DFC estimates more than 260 million people play games online on Windows, and countless millions more play Solitaire and Minesweeper and other in-box Windows OS games.
Our team is chartered with bringing the award winning Xbox LIVE service to casual and hardcore gamers on the Windows platform and beyond. We are looking for a developer with a passion for server technologies that can help us as we define and build the next generation of software and services for gamers. We are a passionate team with years of experience in the online services space and need your help to realize our vision

Program Manager

The Windows Gaming Experience (WGX) group is a new organization chartered with delivering the most compelling game experiences to the world’s largest connected community. We will do this by unifying all of our Windows Gaming assets into a single game service, and by making games a first class citizen on the Windows Platform as well as on the Web.
We’re looking for a PM with web UX and platform experience to deliver great exposure points for the Games for Windows LIVE service. The right candidate will lead the team in creating the face of GFW LIVE for a variety of users, from core gamers playing the next big PC title to casual gamers who take a break to play and get hooked on LIVE.
A good background of both web UX and web platform experience is strongly preferred, as this position will be interfacing with other teams inside and outside of WGX to bring a variety of great features together.

Program Manager

Do you like gaming and buying great content? Do you believe that on-line gaming is the future? If so please join us on the Games for Windows LIVE team to help design and drive our marketplace experience.
The Windows Gaming Experience (WGX) group is a new organization chartered with delivering the most compelling game experiences to Windows gamers. We will do this by unifying all of our Windows Gaming assets into a single gaming service, including connectivity with Xbox LIVE, and by making games a first class citizen on the Windows Platform as well as on the Web.
We’re looking for an experienced self-starting PM to design and drive the marketplace experiences for Games for Windows LIVE. This person will work with multiple partner teams to leverage the existing LIVE marketplace as well as innovating with PC specific features including: recommendation engines and user reviews and ratings. Also this PM will be responsible for ensuring that our content pipeline is well prepared for publisher’s content.
The ideal candidate would have a background in commercial web sites commerce as well as some background in gaming.

Program Manager

The Windows Gaming Experience (WGX) group is a new organization chartered with delivering the most compelling game experiences to Windows gamers. We will do this by unifying all of our Windows Gaming assets into a single game service, including connectivity with Xbox LIVE, and by making games a first class citizen on the Windows Platform as well as on the Web.
We’re looking for an experienced self-starting PM to design and drive the advertising platform for all of Games for Windows. This advertising platform will focus on delivering high value relevant ad impressions to our users. This system will also cover how advertisements are sourced and placed as well as how the analytics reporting needed to judge the efficacy of the advertising campaigns. This person will work with multiple partner teams to leverage the existing LIVE services as well as creating a new updating and installation system.

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