Earlier this month it was revealed that Microsoft would be shutting down the Games for Windows Live marketplace, and it looks like the entire service may be following suit as early as next year. Polygon reports that earlier today an Age of Empires Online support page on Xbox.com noted that the service will be discontinued on July 1st, 2014. Up until then, it said, the service will remain "100 percent operational." The note has since been pulled.
The support page also stated that Age of Empires Online requires certain Game for Windows Live services in order to run properly — making it a distinct possibility that those that own the title may be unable to play it after Microsoft takes its service offline. The company recently hired Jason Holtman, formerly of Valve, to oversee its Windows gaming strategy, and while the man behind the Steam store will undoubtedly be bringing some exciting ideas to Microsoft's gaming plans, that's likely to be of little consolation if gamers find themselves unable to run titles they've already paid for. Hopefully Microsoft will have some sort of fallback plan in place by the time things roll around next year.