Vista gets Live-wired in May

Games for Windows - Live launches May 8; free silver membership includes some online play, gold membership includes cross-platform play.

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Microsoft has been touting an Xbox-Live-like service for PC gamers ever since the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006, when Bill Gates introduced the notion of Live Anywhere. The proposed service would connect mobile phones, PCs, and Xbox 360s with a universal account that logs gamers' stats, displays friends lists, and sends messages between devices.

Today, Microsoft officially announced the PC portion of Live--called Games for Windows - Live--and its release date. Beginning May 8, Windows Vista gamers will be able to start collecting achievements and tallying a Gamerscore (or add on to what they've already earned on the Xbox 360), put together friends lists, and send text and voice messages, just like Xbox 360 owners.

Games for Windows - Live looks awfully familiar.

The Games for Windows portion of Live isn't a separate account--it's actually an extension of the overall Live service. As such, those who already have an Xbox Live account will already have a Games for Windows - Live account at no extra cost.

The pricing will remain the same for the two-tiered service, with Silver memberships being free and Gold memberships staying at $49.99. However, there will be some differences in privileges, as illustrated below.

Silver benefits
Unified with Xbox Live account
Single-player achievements
Private text and voice chat
Friends list
PC-only multiplayer, including browsing a list of active PC games

Gold benefits (includes all Silver benefits)
Multiplayer matchmaking with friends
TrueSkill matchmaking
Multiplayer achievements
Cross-platform gameplay

The first game to take advantage of Games for Windows - Live will be Halo 2, which will also be released on May 8. Following shortly after that in June will be FASA Studio's Shadowrun, which will be the first game to allow Xbox 360 and Vista gamers to play with or against each other. Later this year, Microsoft will also release the Xbox Live Arcade hit Uno for Vista, which will also allow cross-platform play.

PC users have friends, too.

Games for Windows - Live won't launch with a comparable Marketplace feature, but Microsoft plans to extend the features and functionality of Live over time. "Right now, we're focusing on what matters most, which we really think is gaming," marketing manager for Xbox Live Aaron Greenberg told GameSpot.

The look of Live on Vista will be familiar to those who have experience with Xbox Live and will include the same look and the ability to use the guide button with an Xbox 360 controller for Windows. "All the community features that we're used to on the Xbox will look and feel the same on the PC," said Greenberg. "That's the idea of this being one service and one look and feel."

Microsoft hopes that having two connected branches of Live--one for the Xbox 360 and one for the PC--will encourage developers to think differently about how they make games. Kevin Unangst, director of Games for Windows, offered the example of a PC gamer, outfitted with a mouse and keyboard, serving as the decision-making general of a real-time strategy game while Xbox 360 owners play as the grunts on the battlefield.

When asked about the May 8 launch of Games for Windows - Live paired with the spring Xbox 360 dashboard update, Greenberg would only say that Microsoft considers Games for Windows - Live a part of the update, and that Microsoft would have more information at a later date.

Discussion

370 comments
Factor-Zer0
Factor-Zer0

what a piece of **** you can keep it xbox

Dukebball1808
Dukebball1808

It doesn't force PC players to pay to play online, it DOES however charge for the Xbox Live service that some may wish to use and may also open up 360 games to be made for PC. It's nice because if a Xboxlive player feels like playing against some of his friends he can just go get on his computer wherever he may be and play with them and vice-versa. The only huge benefit for PC gamers is that they don't have to worry about setting up thier Xbox 360 for connectivity near a TV.

joe11king
joe11king

its still having to sign up in the first place that pisses me off

Patussay_x
Patussay_x

if i get it well... you have to pay $50 just if you want the GOLD service, being the silver account a FREE service(where you can play with others PC`s, still for free). so if you don't want to... just dont pay... its that? :P

slappymoe66
slappymoe66

Wow this whole idea for paying 50 bucks to look for servers is stupid. That should be free its part of the game. You should pay for crap like friends list . Paying 50 bucks for voice chat, that comes free on every game this is just MS screwing everyone out of money. We all bought vista which didnt appear like it was supposed to, they dont seem to realize making crappy deals doesnt encourage people to buy there products. The reason I chose PS2 over XBOX is because of the fact that you pay for online play. That makes no sense at all. I hate MS with a passion but Mac is worse. Im not anti-MS but come on $50 for bonus features thats just moronic.

Teroza49
Teroza49

has anyone got a games for live acount yet ?

joe11king
joe11king

colinjennison: i have to sign up in order to play the online games that i already had for free with no hassle. The reason i am "upset" is because microsoft is going all AOL on our @sses, controlling PC gamers. Do we need Xbox live? No, but its a way for them to screw everything up; Why fix what isnt broken or corrupted by MS?

colinjennison
colinjennison

joe11king says: "Thats just F*cking great, now i have to pay money just to host a private server and get multiplayer achievements? WTF are achievements anyway? Exactly, They are something created along with the 360. As a true PC gamer, i am appalled at Microsofts attempt to unify PC's and Consoles. TOTAL BS. I dont want an account. I dont want to be marked by a silver or gold XBOX LIVE membership. I DONT want to be controlled by MS the same way i was controlled by AOL 5 years ago. PC games are perfectly fine how they are, and do not need to be changed. Plus the fact that PC gamers are going to rape 360 users in matches. PC and 360 do not mix." ----------------------------- Ummm.... Then don't sign up. Wow, was that worth getting all upset over?

Geminidevine
Geminidevine

I think it is a good idea for PC gamer to play against 360 players. But there aren't that many games that are out yet that will support that wishful thinking. That is a plan going bad because PC gamers already playing for free. Why do we have to pay $50 for? Plus the games look why better on the PC anyway compared to 360. PC games will tear 360 apart with shear graphic power!

joe11king
joe11king

Thats just F*cking great, now i have to pay money just to host a private server and get multiplayer achievements? WTF are achievements anyway? Exactly, They are something created along with the 360. As a true PC gamer, i am appalled at Microsofts attempt to unify PC's and Consoles. TOTAL BS. I dont want an account. I dont want to be marked by a silver or gold XBOX LIVE membership. I DONT want to be controlled by MS the same way i was controlled by AOL 5 years ago. PC games are perfectly fine how they are, and do not need to be changed. Plus the fact that PC gamers are going to rape 360 users in matches. PC and 360 do not mix.

neo16161616
neo16161616

Will the gamer score from your xbox 360 be added to your vista account? Will the points that you earn on your vista account be added to your 360 account?

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

Hey, remember to some people here - you can play against PC gamers as a PC gamer for free online. You only pay for the privilege of playing (& possibly trouncing) the 'more handicapped' Xbox 360 players. This thing is great for racing & sports games.

Darth-Sifh
Darth-Sifh

Sounds like a good idea. But why do 360 gamers have to be limited to just being grunts?

agentsanderson
agentsanderson

I have a $7.99 monthly live subscription that I can cancel anytime, I hope they have that option on the pc for people who dotn want to pay $49.99 upfront.

RogueJedi37
RogueJedi37

This idea is awesome! this is the one thing i was hoping microsoft would do - cross platform multiplayer! sure you have to pay for it (in gold mebership), but that was kinda expected, and you can play pc online for free! now i don't have to go and buy an xbox 360!! i'll have to buy vista, though... :(

judgepeter813
judgepeter813

hey senjutsu , you idiot. you only have to pay for cross platform play, you can still play pc

senjutsu
senjutsu

WHAT? so we're gonna have to PAY to play oc games online now as well? wow thanks **** that's awesome... now what? we'll pay to buy the games, pay to play online, they just need to tax our hours of playtime! So we'll pay x$/hours of offline playing? how great of you M$hit to introduce the paying into our PCs... it is lame. I hate vista ( I had it for free with my dell ) and the next PC I'll buy is surely a mac, anyway they play every games now, and they are a lot better! :D quote from one of my friend: "Vista just ate my memory", lol (we could also answer: "patch it with flash drives") lol

JustQuest
JustQuest

Great idea having two ports of connectivity rather then one is always better in my opinion.

SinisterC
SinisterC

hmmm..not a big Microsoft fan, but this is a pretty good idea.

BradW92
BradW92

So now we haeve to pay for online gaming on pcs as well as 360s...joy

sa33ood
sa33ood

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

matrixhasyou2k4
matrixhasyou2k4

This makes me so glad that I dropped the $ for my 360 and Vista! Cannot wait....

PinkFloyd2003
PinkFloyd2003

I guess the part I don't get is why people would want to pay $50 for multiplayer when you can already play multiplayer for free? So you can play against people who own the 360 version... so? If I can play multiplayer across the internet for free I don't care what platform they have. It just seems like a waste of $50 to me. All the games that will be cross platform I'm sure will be so well balanced that most people probably won't even be able to tell the difference if they're playing against a pc pr 360. So like I said if multiplayer is already free why pay more?

PhoenixBenu
PhoenixBenu

I can't wait to get it on my XP. Let's see Vista sidebar, windows defender already added these features to xp, hmm nice, wonder what's next :D ???

caboose301
caboose301

i cant wait for this and the mobile phone its going to be sweet i have vista so all i need now is this

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

I hope more PC developers make games for the XBox 360. Blizzard!

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

cenz_is - Yeah, Silver will let you play MMOs, assuming you pay the MMO's subscription fee. I wonder how FFXI 360 actually runs... VegetaMaelstrom - Exactly. Games where gamepads naturally work better (one-on-one martial arts, sports) I'm sure it'll work fine. It's FPSes and RTSes where console gamers are going to get owned, even if the developers force PCers to endure being gimped. It's just a bad idea.

BOSSMAN_2004
BOSSMAN_2004

I'll try some of the games on the PC but I LOVE my 360 so I will stick with that mainly.

PyroSean30
PyroSean30

im glad at least pc-only multiplayer is still free...

GhettoTaxii
GhettoTaxii

ironman288, They will pay if they want to play with 360 now.

ironman288
ironman288

no on on a PC should ever, ever have to pay for online play.....

teknocack
teknocack

"DarkDamo They better not force us to register for this crap to play MP games" Or what? Gonna give em bloody nose?

theKSMM
theKSMM

This is a good first step in the right direction. But I would still love to see a multi-platform online experience that includes more than just one manufacturer. Sure, Microsoft will link the PC and XBOX 360, and Sony will eventually link the PS3 and PSP, and Nintendo will eventually like the Wii and DS. But if all of them could come together in one universe, that would be so beautiful.

Nerkcon
Nerkcon

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

berzerk0912
berzerk0912

What!? PC VS. CONSOLE, Ohhhh, hell yeah!!!! let it begin, let it begin.

IpodHero176
IpodHero176

They should of made a Vista-like thing for the 360.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

Too bad we can't have a cross-platform feature so that we can go to war with Sony....too bad guys, u all got lucky.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

"MedevilDragon: C&C 3 + Live Anywhere = totel chaos" -------------------------------------------------- "...in June will be FASA Studio's Shadowrun, which will be the first game to allow Xbox 360 and Vista gamers to play with or against each other." C&C3 won't be GWL enabled: it comes out on March 26 & doesn't have the "Games for Windows" white bar on top of the front cover.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

All the "Silver benefits" (except the "Unified with Xbox Live account") we already have it without GWL. The "Cross-platform gameplay" & "Multiplayer achievements" is only available in Gold, and there's gonna be only 1% of PC gamers who will pay for it (who are godly rich). I find the GWL pretty useless.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

The Great Console-PC Wars will soon begin May 8th.....TO ARMS BROTHERS!

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

As long as the PC-to-PC multiplayer will continue to be free, all it's ok.

hopkins1004
hopkins1004

i already have vista so i cant wait windows live!

shizwill03
shizwill03

Whoa. My wanting Vista has went up 40% solely for this service. My laptop is Vista capable but I will need to drop another gig in it.

cenz_is
cenz_is

FF11 is a decent MMO but you dont need to get gold to play MMOs im pretty sure silver is fine to do that

DarkDamo
DarkDamo

They better not force us to register for this crap to play MP games