Rockstar games has announced an integration with Microsoft's Windows 10 platform. Specifically, the game studio has released an official game launcher. With the tool, the company can now handle its own digital rights and entice gamers to purchase content directly from Rockstar and not third parties like Steam.
To get the ball rolling, Rockstar games is giving away a free edition of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as an incentive to get people to sign up.
We are not surprised by this decision and would argue Rockstar is even a little late to the party. Major developers such as EA, Ubisoft, and Bethseda have had their own portals for some time. Epic Games, of course, opened a whole store.
The benefits of a move like this are clear, such as giving developers the ability to manage their own properties and avoid paying a cut of profits.
Some reports speculate Rockstar is using the Windows 10 game launcher as a store for Red Dead Redemption 2. The company's latest triple A title has yet to arrive on Windows PC, despite being available on Xbox One and PS4 for a while.
If the game launcher is to include Red Dead 2, this could be a pointer that the game is about to drop on PC. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if Rockstar keeps the game exclusive to its own launcher or allows it to be made available on the likes of Steam and the Microsoft Store.
Ultimately, I can't help but think the consumer suffers. We are seeing something similar in movie and TV streaming. Publishing companies are increasingly creating their own streaming services and restricting content on third parties. The result will be potentially dozens of different services with consumers only able to choose a select few.
Could we be seeing the beginnings of a similar movement in gaming?