Microsoft to kick Steam rivalry up a notch

Some of us were a little surprised to see Microsoft open a digital distribution service for games last December, and today, the Games on Demand store is still alive and well—you just need to create a Gamertag and grab the Games for Windows Live software to use it. According to Shacknews, that will soon change. Microsoft is reportedly cooking up a web-based Games for Windows Live Marketplace.

Due to open November 15, the web store will apparently look... well, a whole lot like Steam. Folks will be able to purchase games directly from the website using a credit or debit card, although other purchase methods, like Microsoft Points, will also be accepted. About 100 games will be available at launch, with more to come "each week."

I've never been crazy about the whole Games for Windows Live thing, so having a (hopefully) simple, web-based option seems like a good thing. Microsoft may have a tough time drawing in current Steam users, though. I use Valve's content distribution service for most of my game purchases and like being able to access them all through a single app, so I'd be hesitant to add another service to the mix. Perhaps, if Microsoft manages to offer more aggressive deals than Valve...

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