So there I was, I hadn’t played GTA4 in years because, frankly, Grand Theft Bowling got boring real fast. But with a new PC I thought I should give it a try to see what the game looked like.
I start it up. I have to click to say no, I really don’t want to log into Rockstar’s own stupid online system as well as Steam. I then have to click to say I really, really don’t want to log into Rockstar’s own stupid online system as well as Steam. Then the game goes into unskippable screens telling me about the delights of game ratings, followed by unskippable video logos, just in case I didn’t realise that it’s a Rockstar game.
And finally I’m at the start screen. Except, oops, I have to log into Games For Windows Live, the wonderful Microsoft equivalent of Steam. And I set an account up years ago and have no damn idea what it was.
So, give up on a game I own and paid money for, thanks Microsoft.
A couple of months later I happened to come across the file where I wrote all that down. Success! I can go through all that rigmarole again and get back to the GFWL screen again and log in!
Except now, it has to download my profile, whatever that means. And, part-way through, it discovers there’s an update for GFWL and, horrors, I can’t play the game without updating it.
OK, let’s give that a try. Now I get a dialog box telling me that it’s updating, and it may restart my computer after the update is complete.
Now, think about that for a moment. I just want to play a damn game. I’ve already sat through the nonsense the game developers threw at me, and now Microsoft are going to reboot the computer to install crap that I don’t want in the first place. Retarded monkey doesn’t even begin to describe how stupid that is.
Fortunately a reboot isn’t required. But, lo, I must exit the game in order to complete the installation. Which means I have to sit through yet more unskippable videos to get to the point where I can actually exit.
Now there’s a minimised Windows installer hidden away which I have to run in order to finish the upgrade. I sit there and do it, and now I can finally go back through all the unskippable videos and yes, I really do not want to log into the damn Rockstar online service and I’m back to the GFWL login.
I told it to remember my login and password so I assume that when I tell it to log in, it will just log in. But no, that would be too easy. I get back to the login screen and it’s blank. I have to actually enter the login ID, which is some random collection of letters and numbers, at which point it tells me that, oh, it did remember the password after all.
Then there’s yet more waiting for my profile to download. Whatever that means. And finally I’m able to start the game.
Except there are no save games. What exactly was the point of waiting all that time for my profile to download when there’s nothing useful in it?
Welcome to the wonderful new world of PC gaming, where everyone wants to tie you to their online system and Microsoft believe that locking you out of your games and then making you wait more than ten minutes to start a game is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
This is why I’ll never buy another game that requires the glorious Games For Windows Live technology. It’s Microsoft through and through, where taking your time to download their updates is business as usual, and no-one is doing anything important on their computers, so randomly rebooting them is no big deal.