United States   Change   |   All Microsoft Sites

Games for Windows - Certification Process


The following is the general process steps which are necessary to make your title(s) eligible for the Games for Windows program.

Step 1: Request Non- Disclosure Agreement

To get started, the developer must request a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Upon signing the provided NDA, we can begin the process of getting your title certified.   To request an NDA, send an email to gfwgen@microsoft.com with the following information:

  1. Company name

  2. Company address

  3. Signatory name

  4. Signatory email address

Once the e-mail has been received, the program manager sends  the contact information to the Microsoft Procurement team, who emails a locked hard copy of the NDA agreement to the developer’s point of contact with directions on its execution and return.

Step 2: Submit Games for Windows Title Branding Application

Submit Games for Windows Title Branding Application and Set-up a Windows Live ID Account

A fully completed Games for Windows Branding Application Form must be submitted for each title the developer would like to certify to carry the Games for Windows brand.  The form is intended to provide important details about the title including release dates and sales territories. These details allow us to determine the appropriate support resources and marketing opportunities that may be available upon certification. Submit forms to gfwself@microsoft.com. Upon receipt of each form, the program manager will confirm receipt and track the title throughout the certification process.

Set-up a Windows Live ID Account

Once the application is received, the program manager will initiate the Trademark Licensing Agreement process.   Simultaneously, the developer should obtain a Windows Live ID account, which allows access to Microsoft Prosource, a secure site which provides important branding guidelines and assets.

Click here to set up a Windows Live ID

Step 3: Trademark Licensing Agreement Provided

  • The Microsoft Procurement team receives the developer name, address, point of contact, email address and Games for Windows application needed to initiate a Trademark Licensing Agreement.

  • The Procurement team e-mails a locked hard copy of the agreement to the developers provided point of contact with directions on how to finalize and return the executed agreement

  • Developer returns the signed agreement as directed.

  • Microsoft Procurement team routes the agreement to internal Games for Windows team for signatures.

  • The Games for Windows team signs and returns agreements to the Microsoft Procurement team.

  • The Microsoft Procurement team routes either a scanned or hard copy of the fully-executed agreement  to the developer.

Allow 7-9 business days to process the Trademark Licensing Agreement

Step 4: Access granted to Games for Windows Art Guidelines

The Games for Windows Program offers three different options for branding title packaging.

  • Front and Spine Signature

  • Box Spine and Jewelry Signature Option

  • Box Jewel Signature Option

Click here to view the branding packaging options.

Along with the branded packaging templates, the Games for Windows Program offers a variety of advertising options.  Get the GFW advertising guidelines here.

The Games for Windows package templates, logos, and fonts are available through Microsoft Prosource.  If you are already signed up for Prosource, email gfwgen@microsoft.com  to request access.

If you don’t have a Prosource account, follow the steps below to create one.

  1. Go to https://www.microsoftprosource.com/

  2. Enter your Windows Live ID and password

  3. Please fill-in all required fields on the profile page.  Preferences are optional and do not affect permissions or access.

  4. Once registration is complete,  allow up to one business day for permission to be granted.

Licensee must disclose any limitations or hardware dependencies that Product may have when operating with the edition and version of Windows that is identified on the logo in accordance with applicable laws.

Product that requires a DirectX 10-compatible graphics card must include notice of such fact in a conspicuous size and place such at or before the time of purchase.  The following shall be deemed appropriate placements for such notice:

  1. for product intended for in-store sale, on product packaging and any point-of-purchase displays and in-store marketing materials related to the Product that are created or distributed by Licensee;

  2. for product intended solely for e-commerce or catalogue sale, on Product packaging or on printed material placed inside the Product packaging and on all Web pages and in all catalogues describing the Product. If Licensee does not have editorial control over the content of any such Web pages or catalogues, Licensee shall make commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that the party that does have such control includes the statement in a conspicuous size and place within that content. 

Step 5: Submit Packaging and Marketing Materials for Approval

Once the developer applies the Games for Windows packaging template, follows the necessary marketing materials branding guidelines, and has the final artwork planned for release, submit a PDF file to  gfwart@microsoft.com  for approval. Feedback regarding the artwork, with an approved or rejected decision, will be given within 3 business days after the receipt of the artwork.

Step 6: Download self-certification tool and test title

Before the developer gets final approval to distribute with the Games for Windows brand for the game’s title, you will need to submit your title through self certification.

Click here to download the self certification tool and test your title.

Still have questions? Download the self certification tool training deck.

Step 7: Submit test results and get title approval

Please submit your test results and approved game rating certificate to gfwgen@microsoft.com. The program manager will verify the test results and advise on whether or not the title may release with Games for Windows branding.

We reserve the right to audit applications submitted for approval to ensure compliance with the technical requirements. If the title has breached the Trademark Licensing Agreement, Microsoft has the right to take legal actions against the developer.

Step 8: Notification of title release

Before the title’s release, send an e-mail to gfwgen@microsoft.com  with the date the title will release with Games for Windows branding.

Step 9: Provide copies of title to Microsoft

Once your Games for Windows title has released, provide 50 retail samples and/or digital distribution keys of your primary SKU and 10 retail copies and/or digital distribution keys of your secondary SKU’s as agreed to in the Games for Windows Trademark License Agreement.  Samples will be tested for compatibility with current and future versions of Windows and used for demonstration purposes.  Please send 50 retail copies to:

              Krissy Wendlandt
              One Microsoft Way
              Redmond, WA 98052

We reserve the right to audit applications utilizing the Games for Windows Branding to ensure compliance with the technical requirements.

Estimated timeline

Based on general publisher feedback, the following is an estimated timeline of activities required to complete the certification process.  The description of each milestone is provided within each step above:

  1. Request Non-Disclosure Agreement (2-3 business day)

  2. Submit Games for Windows Branding Application/Set-up Windows Live ID Account (1-2 business day)

  3. Trademark Licensing Agreement Provided (5-7 business days)

  4. Access granted to Prosource Games for Windows Art Guidelines (2-3 business days)

  5. Submit Packaging and marketing materials for Approval (3-5 business days)

  6. Download self-certification tool and test title (3-4 business days)

  7. Submit test results and get title approval (2-3 business days)

Ready to Start the Self Certification Process?

  • Games for Windows: Technical Requirements

  • Games for Windows: Test Cases

    Get details on how to test a title's compliance with the Games for Windows technical requirements

  • Games for Windows: Showcase Features

    Titles that utilize showcase features and demonstrate illustrate the power of gaming development on different Windows platforms will be eligible for additional marketing benefits over titles that only meet the Games for Windows standard technical requirements.

Participating Developers

Many of the top game developers are already leveraging the power of the Games for Windows brand to provide consumers with a great gaming experience.

Games for Windows Self-Certification Newsletter

Learn about Middleware compliance, Direct 3D 11 and more!