UPDATE: Microsoft has responded to our inquiry about Games for Windows Live's impending closure with a cryptic message about believing in PC gaming and having a long-term plan to grow.
The company's official statement is as follows:
"Yesterday, an Age of Empires support web page communicated that the free to play Age of Empires Online will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. We believe in Windows/PC gaming and have long-term plans to grow our support. We expect there to be transitions as we build out new investments, but we remain committed to bringing first party gaming services and games to Windows for years to come. We will share more details in the future."
Original Story: Games for Windows Live is shutting down next July, Microsoft let slip.
In a since removed update on Age of Empires Online's support page (via Polygon), Microsoft stated that its PC games service will come to an end next July, and Age of Empire's Online will sunset its servers at the same time. The full statement read as follows:
"Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100 per cent operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down."
This may come as a surprise as not but four days ago did Microsoft assure us that it "continues to support the Games for Windows Live platform," upon announcing that it would be closing the PC section of Xbox.com. I guess "continue to support" means only for another 10 and a half months.
What will this mean for players who purchased other games, like Dark Souls, on the service? We're not sure yet. We've requested a comment from Microsoft and are awaiting reply. We'll update as we find out more.