When it was unveiled that the Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition for the PC would feature Games for Windows Live (GFWL) protection instead of Steamworks, many people were up in arms. Though both services have their fans (and critics), I think it's safe to say that the majority of PC gamers prefer Steamworks, myself included. But what about a developer's perspective? Last week, Christian Svensson, Corporate Officer and Senior Vice-President at Capcom, shed some light as to why his company tends to favor GFWL over Steamworks:
1. 95% of system calls are identical to Xbox Live. That is to say, if you have an Xbox 360 version, you're 95% of the way to having a working PC SKU, and the calls that are different, aren't wildly different. No additional integration required.
2. What this also means is feature for feature mapping with console. No gaps.
3. Native development support, if needed, in Japanese, in Japan's time zone. For getting anything done with teams in Japan, this is essential.
4. SSA remains secure.
I doubt it will change the mind of GFWL critics, but it does provide some insight into the decision. I think it's fairly clear that point one is the main reason GFWL was used for Dark Souls and as much as I would have personally preferred Steamworks support, I can't really fault developer From Software from taking the easier GFWL route. Capcom, on the other hand, isn't completely abandoning Steamworks. According to another one of Svensson's posts, "I <3 Steam as a service and at some point, I'll have news to share regarding that fact." Hopefully we'll find out what the Steam-related Capcom news is soon. Could it be Lost Planet 3? Resident Evil 6? Or maybe it's an as-yet-unannounced title. Time will tell.