Xbox One Ditches One Of Xbox Live’s More Annoying Limitations

Xbox One Ditches One Of Xbox Live’s More Annoying Limitations

Good news: Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service is going to undergo some noteworthy changes for the Xbox One, and will do away with at least one of the current system’s more annoying limitations.

If you’ve ever tried to play a “Games for Windows Live” PC game while your room mate streaming videos on your Xbox 360, you know how irritating Microsoft’s current Xbox Live restrictions can be. One minute, you’re firing up Dark Souls or Batman: Arkham City while your room mate tries to fire up an episode of Buffy in the living room. The next, you’ve logged into your game, but your Xbox 360 has been forcefully logged out. Frustrated cries come from the living room.

Microsoft PR: “You may be logged into Games for Windows Live and an Xbox One console simultaneously.”

Games for Windows Live is Microsoft’s online PC gaming service, which doubles as DRM for all GFWL-required games. (Full list here.) GFWL is unpopular among PC gamers for a number of reasons, and the single-login requirement is a particularly annoying limitation. Basically, you can only be logged into your account from one place: If you log in on your PC, you’ll get kicked from your Xbox session. It can be inconsistent in practice, and there are a few workarounds — some PC games work fine in offline mode, and some Xbox apps will keep running even if you’re logged out mid-stream. But generally, it’s a headache.

Today, Microsoft detailed a number of the ways that the Xbox One’s premium online service Xbox Live Gold will be different. (If you don’t want to pay for Gold, you can still get some basic services for free through Xbox Live Silver.) We reached out to ask about Games for Windows Live: Will PC games and the Xbox One play nice?

“You may be logged into Games for Windows Live and an Xbox One console simultaneously,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku today. So, if a game must come saddled with Games for Windows Live, at least it won’t also screw up your Xbox One connectivity.

Microsoft has already briefly mentioned that you can assign your Gold account to your “home” Xbox One, letting anyone who uses it access your Gold features, even if they use a different login. Furthermore, you can access your own Gold features remotely by logging in to any other Xbox One.

As further explained today:

At E3 this year, we briefly highlighted a new benefit we’re bringing to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One. We’re calling it Home Gold. It will enable any Xbox Live Gold member on Xbox One to extend many Gold features to others at no additional cost. One Xbox Live Gold account delivering great benefits to everyone in the home.

Here’s how Xbox Live Gold members can extend Gold benefits including multiplayer gaming, Game DVR, SmartMatch and access to entertainment apps and experiences, including The NFL on Xbox, Skype, Internet Explorer:

At home. You can set up your console at home so that anyone who uses that console will enjoy multiplayer gaming and access to entertainment apps — even if you are not home or logged in.

On the go. You can log in at a friend’s house and everyone there can enjoy multiplayer gaming and access to entertainment apps while you are logged in.

That sounds pretty cool, but at least one question still remains: If you log in at your friend’s house while someone at home is watching movies, will their session get booted?

Microsoft’s spokesperson confirmed that won’t be the case. “Gold features will stay active on your home Xbox One console even if you roam and login to use your Gold features elsewhere,” the spokesperson said.

Well then! Those sorts of small annoyances could have really worked against the idea of a single console as an all-in-one home entertainment box. While it remains to be seen just how all that will work in practice, it’s good to hear that Microsoft is making some smarter decisions this time around.


  • GFWL should just be scrapped. So many hassles with it, and account management is atrocious if you don’t have an XBox also.

  • All I’m really taking from this article is that PC gamers should expect more titles with GFWL in the future.

    And that’s not a good thing.

    • What’s with the hate for GFWL? Aside from the aforementioned issue in the article it worked fine every time for me.

      • It’s mostly the fact that many games on Steam require it, meaning you have two running overlays which you must run.

        And then there’s games like GTA, which not only have GFWL, but also Rockstar Social Club AND Steam. It’s getting ridiculous.

        • Isn’t Rockstar Social Club just a stat-tracking system, similar to how you can track your Halo stats via Waypoint etc.?

        • But when I play GTA I just click PLAY in Steam and that’s all. I’ve never had to interact with GFWL other than my FIRST login. What is everyone doing that they have so many issue with it?

          • I somehow have an issue with another annoying process running in the background, alongside the other fifty or so third party bullshit software I had to install for various games not to mention everything I personally need to run in the background.

            GFWL is not a hindrance 90% of the time. But is that 10% of the time that it works really worth it when you consider it doesn’t benefit you in any concievable way?

            Also, Microsoft won’t let me change my password to one I’ve previously used. Because I forgot my password one time, it’s now incredibly difficult to remember my password for this one piece of software that I really don’t want or care about that isn’t doing me any kind of service because I had to change it to something else last time and I can’t remember that for the life of me. I know a guy who can’t play any of his GFWL games unless he calls MS support because he can’t remember his email at the time of registration or his password.

            Saying “well I’ve never had a problem with it” is all well and good but why on earth do you not have an issue with it being another piece of software running in the background? It’s at a disservice to you, however small that may be, for no benefit whatsoever. Why would you want that?

          • Well said. It’s about using more computing power than is actually needed to play the game.
            They all add up.

      • Can’t speak for everyone but the main problem I have with it is I sit down ready to play a game I just downloaded for a few hours on steam (say Arkham City), then it instantly freezes and GfWL pops up and spends a good 10 minutes trying to connect (only to fail 9/10 times making me spend another 10 minutes re-trying or sometimes just not letting me play at all).

        Then when it finally connects it says there’s an update available, so it spends ages updating before asking to restart the game, aka – rinse/repeat the whole preocess. Oh another update (because apparently downloading multiple updates at once is too difficult).

        • I can honestly say I have never encountered those issues. I downloaded GFWL ONCE, ran it and logged in ONCE and that was that since forever. I get hit up for Steam client updates more than any other software on my PC :\

          • I encounter those issues all the time and have since given the finger to anything that requires GFWL. Given the size of my pile of shame, my gaming experience is in no way diminished by the loss of those games.

      • I was like you once.. I had no issue with GFWL. Then the other day I wanted to play Bioshock 2 for the first time… 1 hour of downloading updates, being told GFWL doesn’t work on Win8, I was amazed… Once its got through the initial stage of BS, I actually don’t mind it.

        • I’m playing Batman:AA on Windows 8 right now with GFWL and not a single issue. Even remember my saved game from when I first played it on Windows 7. So cloud saves are working perfectly.

      • *start up game*

        ok here we go-



        wait for too freaking long

        • I’m on a slow as TPG connection only 5-10Mbps and it’s already logged in before I hit the main menu. Weird you’re having to wait so long.

          • mabye mine is slower but I know GFWL is slower than other applications (like Uplay) at least uplay and even Origin have the good manners to get all the loading/connecting BS out the way before I start the game (does GFWL even have an offline mode? I’m still confused as to how it works)

            with GFWL its *start the game*

            alright! time for some batman fun-



      • The real problem, in my eyes, is that it’s an unnecessary service which doesn’t add anything to enhance the gaming experience – only adds pitfalls which can detract from it. Unless you care about unified achievements across your xbox and your PC, in which case… yahoo. Big bonus.

        Otherwise, it’s like the human appendix, whose only purpose is to randomly kill you.

  • Funny it has taken them this long. With Sony you can be logged in every PS3, VITA and/or PSP device at once and you won’t be disconnected.

  • I must be one of the only people who doesn’t mind GFWL, i definitely play more on the Xbox but I’ve never had any issues with GFWL , i like the way it is set out and I like the way it works, then again I’ve never had anyone else in my house that uses my account at the same time I’m using it so I’ve never really experienced issues, I think GFWL should resemble Steam’s Big Picture mode but I’m happy the way it is, that being said, I’ve been happy with the changes Microsoft has brought so far and i’m glad I don’t have to worry about this occurring to me in the future.

    • Isn’t the launcher just an optional cross-game launcher? (as opposed to 3 seperate launchers) What’s wrong with that?
      As for uPlay, I admit I hated at first – being forced to launch another DRM client from steam – but after using it a while it’s actually not that bad. You get free stuff for playing games and they often have better prices for games then steam.

      Origin is a buggy, overpriced pile of crap though and GfWL is just a fucking nightmare.

      • uPlay is implemented so much more poorly than Steam, however. For example, I recently reinstalled Assassin’s Creed 3, which is now up to patch 1.06. Instead of simply updating to this version when I installed the game, uPlay decided to run the six patches individually on each of the first six times I ran the game. And every patch made me read and agree to the same EULA. Steam, of course, keeps games up to date automatically and can instantly set you up with the latest version when you install.

    • Not trying to start an argument, I’m legitimately curious. How is at all a problem for PC? It isn’t as though Blizzard was ever on steam or used another service other than their own. I’m also with Sabrescene in regards to uplay, it isn’t all that bad once you have made your account for it.


    Steam should just buy them out, set it one fire and put it on youtube so we can watch. Piece of crap.

  • I guess I must be in this fabled 1% of PC users who has not had a single issue with GFWL. Downloaded, logged in ONCE and that was that. Perfect ever since. *shrugs*

  • I have never heard of GFWL until this article…. I’ve been playing PC games for ages but have never had to dealt with that program. Only Steam. The more you know!

  • I’ve had a few issues with GFWL but it isn’t all that bad. I think it just gets a lot of bad press. It’s also cool to hate on some things, so that probably ups the vitriol quotient a bit.

  • I’ve experienced the annoying log out a few times and its nice to know they are catching up to Sony on this regard. The log in seems to work fine for me, though. I have issues with R*s social club when booting GTA IV on pc, which is weird as the social club works fine for me on every other device… ?
    The real issue with gfwl is making it more seamless like stream is, doing updates and “logging in” in the background, while also becoming less obtrusive and resource hoggy.

  • GFWL aside, it makes me sad that MS so easily won the battle to make people pay extra to use the networking port on their hardware. So now Xbox gamers have to pay for the console, the game, the internet connection, and the bonus Live fee to access the network. Imagine if everything went this way. I’m surprised they haven’t tried to shoehorn that into Windows and their mobile offerings. ‘Device has wireless N for fast connections! ($5 fee per month to use this hardware)’

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