Games for Windows Live has been in a Schrödinger's service-style quandary since last year, when a (quickly deleted) Age of Empires Online support update
claimed it would shut down
this July 1st. Ever since, it's been suspended in an atmosphere of non-life: functional, yet dead—many of its games fleeing for the safety of a Steamworks alternative.
Lending credence to its demise was Microsoft's complete lack of follow-up statement. Their silence suggested that they'd rather forget about the existence of the client... and of the PC entirely. Now, though, just over a week before its apparent closure, Microsoft have rumbled into life—their new statement revealing a plan of "continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service".
Here's the full statement, made to
"We are continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service. As previously announced, as part of the retirement of Microsoft Points the Xbox.com PC marketplace was closed. Although customers are unable to purchase new games from the marketplace or receive title updates, they can continue to enjoy previously purchased content by downloading them through the Games for Windows Live client as usual. We remain committed to investing in PC gaming in the years ahead, and look forward to sharing more in the future."
There are few explanations for why Microsoft are now announcing their support for the service, the least likely of which is that GfWL's sole remaining employee woke from a coma and realised what had happened. The service is surviving in a massively reduced capacity: if it's no longer able to "receive title updates," that essentially ensures that no new game will ever use it. Most likely then, certain games were unable to remove GfW Live in time, and so Microsoft are keeping it in suspended animation.
Alternatively, they have a genuine plan to relaunch with something new. There's a chance that, now Xbox One has released, Microsoft will make another attempt at an integrated cross-platform solution. That still seems unlikely, as
their own games
have since been spotted on Steam free of any additional service.