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.

368 Comments

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.
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.
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.

$39.99 on Walmart
Buy

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 368 comments about this story
368 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for pixel8
PIXEL8

203

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

Ewwww......Vista sucked.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Factor-Zer0
Factor-Zer0

614

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Dukebball1808
Dukebball1808

44

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for joe11king
joe11king

879

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Patussay_x
Patussay_x

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for slappymoe66
slappymoe66

104

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Teroza49
Teroza49

47

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

has anyone got a games for live acount yet ?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for joe11king
joe11king

879

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for colinjennison
colinjennison

458

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 48

User Lists: 0

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?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Geminidevine
Geminidevine

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 0

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!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for joe11king
joe11king

879

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for neo16161616
neo16161616

146

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

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?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ObiKKa
ObiKKa

455

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Darth-Sifh
Darth-Sifh

2473

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for agentsanderson
agentsanderson

524

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RogueJedi37
RogueJedi37

27

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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... :(

Upvote • 
Avatar image for judgepeter813
judgepeter813

1009

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for senjutsu
senjutsu

1206

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 29

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JustQuest
JustQuest

597

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for SinisterC
SinisterC

48

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for BradW92
BradW92

590

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for matrixhasyou2k4
matrixhasyou2k4

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PinkFloyd2003
PinkFloyd2003

187

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

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?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PhoenixBenu
PhoenixBenu

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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 ???

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Eclipse_ShinRa
Eclipse_ShinRa

2549

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

Does anyone know what MS phone will look like?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for caboose301
caboose301

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for drangel_jam
drangel_jam

2735

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 16

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

2253

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 22

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for BOSSMAN_2004
BOSSMAN_2004

153

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PyroSean30
PyroSean30

400

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for GhettoTaxii
GhettoTaxii

490

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ironman288
ironman288

95

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for LordBraz
LordBraz

151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

cool beans

Upvote • 
Avatar image for teknocack
teknocack

112

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for theKSMM
theKSMM

1257

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Nerkcon
Nerkcon

4707

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for berzerk0912
berzerk0912

961

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IpodHero176
IpodHero176

16952

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 21

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

765

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

3318

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

"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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

3318

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

765

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

955

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hopkins1004
hopkins1004

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

i already have vista so i cant wait windows live!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Lord_Bafford
Lord_Bafford

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

meh

Upvote • 
Avatar image for princeofgames90
princeofgames90

553

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

this isnt new news

Upvote • 
Avatar image for shizwill03
shizwill03

394

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for cenz_is
cenz_is

1035

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 12

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DarkDamo
DarkDamo

79

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

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

Upvote •