Microsoft full steam ahead for new PC Game Store

Microsoft has given its online gaming store a major overhaul and also given it a slightly new name with Games for Windows Marketplace.

Hardcore PC gamers will treat the announcement with more than a smidgen of trepidation though, as Microsoft has come up short in the past in comparison to the market leader, Valve's Steam.

However, Microsoft has built up a very successful online gaming empire with Xbox LIVE, and it will hope to emulate some of that success on people's desktops.

The new service is optimised for faster downloading and the searching aspects have also been improved. There's also some decent titles on board for the launch as well.

The roster includes Fable: The Lost Chapters, Grand Theft Auto II, Lego Universe, CarneyVale, Lost Planet 2 and Max Payne.

Upcoming blockbusters such as Fable III and Age of Empires will also find their way onto the new platform.

Anyone with a Windows Live ID, Xbox LIVE ID or Zune account can instantly sign in to the system, and Microsoft Points are supported as well.

“With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end”, said Microsoft's Kevin Unangst.

“And by integrating with our existing Xbox LIVE and Windows Live services, we’ve made it easier than ever for millions of gamers to see for themselves how easy buying PC games can be”.

The new Games for Windows Marketplace launches on 15 November.