XFire vs Games for Windows Live….. FIGHT!

A couple nights ago I finally fired up Fallout 3 (PC version) for the first time. It incorporates Games for Windows Live (henceforth GFWL) and this was the first game I’ve played that does. I do have an XBox Live Gold account (gamertag: Jaded) and so wanted to move that profile into GFWL.

But it wouldn’t work. When I tried to sign in, I got to the ‘importing profile’ step and got an error saying something about my not being in a location supported by GFWL. Which sounded pretty odd…like somehow a spoofed IP was being sent? Anyway I’m not going to ponder the geeky details; point is, it didn’t work.

I downloaded the GFWL stand-alone client (which is barely a client…talk about no-frills), and that did connect, no problems. Between that working, and my XBox 360 never having any problems, I pretty much ruled out issues with my router. Some googling led me to the advice to shut down XFire and try again. Which I did, then fired up Fallout 3 and GFWL worked like a charm. I imported my profile, saw friends online and all that.

But I *like* running XFire, so I kept looking for a solution. I wasn’t the only one having the problem, but it certainly wasn’t ubiquitous. I should add that I bought Fallout 3 off of Steam, so I had that running as well.

To make a long boring story slightly less long, I did solve the problem eventually, or perhaps it solved itself. Last night I disabled the “Video Capture” feature of XFire and booted Fallout 3, and it connected with no problems. Huh. Well I was in the mood to play, not tinker, so I accepted it and spent an hour talking to the denizens of Fallout 3.

A few possibilities need to be checked.

First, it might be that the (experimental) XFire video capture feature was stepping on some aspect of GFWL, and disabling it fixed the problem. Honestly that seems unlikely since it was the *first* feature of XFire I disabled, and everyone knows its always the *last* thing you try that fixes the problem. 🙂

Second, it might be that GFWL was just borked the first night I was trying to import my profile and I was just unlucky.

Third, it might be that XFire steps on GFWL’s ability to import the profile, but not to connect once it has been imported (which seems like a 1 time task that had to happen). This is, in my opinion, the mostly likely explanation.

I may (or may not) experiment some more in order to determine what was going on, but there were enough people frustrated by the XFire vs GFWL issue (mostly players of Fallout 3 or Dawn of War 2) that I figured there’d be some value in my sharing what little I know so far. If you can’t get GFWL to connect that first time, try turning off everything you can possibly turn off, particularly XFire and any kind of virtual network stuff (which seemed to be a problem for a lot of other people) just to see if you can get online long enough to import your profile. After that, you might have better luck running the game with your usual assortment of 3rd party apps running.