Microsoft has used the Game Developers Conference to announce a number of new features coming to its Games for Windows - Live online gaming service and community in the coming months.

First up, the company will be introducing more protection against piracy with server-side authentication to help prevent games getting leaked before their release date, while the new Marketplace APIs will let developers create online in-game store fronts and experiences surrounding the sale of additional content.

Finally, PC gamers will now also be able to save their personal settings for their Games for Windows - Live account in the cloud, meaning they can get access to their settings on any compatible and connected PC.

"This update and other features currently in development represent a
tipping point in the evolution of Games for Windows – Live as a
leading online PC gaming network", said Ron Pessner, general manager of Games for Windows – Live.

"In the coming months, we will continue to deliver on our promise to provide gamers and publishers with the industry's best connected gaming experiences through the Live service".

The Games for Windows - Live community has seen a boost in users since the launch of its more PC-friendly interface back in November and the scrapping of the membership fee in July, no doubt helped along by some big names such as GTA IV and Fallout 3 as well.

We'll bring you more on this, and any other news from GDC when we get it.