Microsoft to relaunch Steam rival

GFW Marketplace ups the ante.

Microsoft aims to land a hammer blow in the battle with Valve's Steam and Apple's App Store for PC videogame download supremacy next month with the relaunch of Games for Windows Marketplace.

The relaunch is set for 15th November. The idea, according to Microsoft, is to turn the store into "a destination for games for PC gamers".

"Sure, we're going to have Live-enabled titles, and we love those, but that's not all you'll find here," Peter Orullian, a group product manager, told Joystiq.

It'll link to DLC and push deals and promotions, but the new GFW Marketplace will be sans many of the features of Steam.

There will be a rating system, eventually, and pre-order incentives for consumers.

"Definitely you should show up on day one, because we're going to have a great pre-order on a title you may care about," Orullian teased.

"What's cool is if you happen to be a console game and you have MS Points in your Xbox Live account, or you could be a Zune Pass Subscriber, or you could just have a Hotmail account - any of those will work to sign in, and then you can spend those points if you have them or you could buy more points," he said.

"But one of the other things that's new about Games for Windows Marketplace is that won't be necessary. If you don't have those or don't want to do it that way, you'll also be able to purchase games with a debit or credit card."

Microsoft certainly has a job on challenging Steam - more than 30 million people have Steam accounts, according to Valve.

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