An update to the Age of Empires Online support page revealed that Games for Windows Live will shut down July 1, 2014, and with it, at least some of AoE Online's features, if not the whole game. The announcement has been removed and replaced with the original text, but here's what it said:
"Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. Although it is available through Steam, Age of Empires Online requires features of the Games for Windows Live service. You can continue to enjoy all the features of Age of Empires Online as the service will remain 100% operational until July 1, 2014 when the server will shut down."
Microsoft announced last week that it's shutting down the Games for Windows Marketplace. Games for Windows Live is something else entirely, a DRM and multiplayer infrastructure formerly used by Microsoft, Rockstar, Capcom, WB Games, 2K Games, and others. If you've had to use it, you know why few will mourn the loss.
If this deleted update is accurate, however, there is one big concern: presumably, any game currently using GFWL will need to patch it out and replace it with Steamworks or its own system to continue working after the 2014 shut off date. That's Dark Souls, Street Fighter IV, BioShock 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, and more. Eep.
We'll let you know when Microsoft officially confirms or denies the news.
Thanks for the link, /r/Games.