Windows 8 to play Xbox 360 games?

Reports claim Microsoft's next operating system will be able to play current console game discs through an Xbox Live Gold-like subscription service.

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Source: An article on Teknylate.

What we heard: The Teknylate article claims that Windows 8 will let users play Xbox 360 games on their PCs, although it attributes no particular source with the information.

Teknylate's piece appears to be the reason this story has entered the news cycle today, but it's not entirely new. A very similar story surfaced in May on Insideris, with the author of that piece (who goes by "Sam") attributed generic "sources" with the information that Xbox 360 functionality on Windows 8 PCs will be reserved for those willing to pay an Xbox Live-like subscription fee.

However, the subscription service won't simply be Xbox Live, as cross-platform play will specifically be prohibited to avoid competitive mismatches that could arise from one group of players sporting mice and keyboards while others wield standard Xbox 360 controllers.

Microsoft is already giving away 360s with Windows 7 PCs. Why not build it into Windows 8?
Microsoft is already giving away 360s with Windows 7 PCs. Why not build it into Windows 8?

Such a move would drastically increase the installed user base for the Xbox 360 and bring console gaming into households that never would have considered picking up a $200 gaming system they would play rarely, if at all. The risk of Microsoft undercutting the Xbox 360 market could also be limited as the console is already older at this point than the original Xbox was when it was discontinued.

The longer Microsoft can ride this generation, the better, but the software giant is rumored to be unveiling its next step forward by E3 2012. And given the razor-razorblade business model the gaming industry generally adheres to (in which hardware is often initially sold at a loss with the money recouped through software sales), perhaps Microsoft wouldn't mind significantly expanding the Xbox 360 user base without needing to sell more systems.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has eyed PC and Xbox integration. The company's original Games for Windows Live initiative brought the Xbox Live gamertag (and games like Gears of War and Halo 2) to PC players with merged friends lists and achievements.

And earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that the Kinect motion-sensing camera peripheral would be coming to the PC, saying, "We'll support that in a formal way in the right time, and when we have an announcement to make, we'll make it." (The company has since released the Kinect software development kit for PC.) It also doesn't take a very long look at Microsoft's first Windows 8 demo video to notice a resemblance between it and the Kinect dashboard.

The official word: Microsoft had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus: There's essentially nothing to go on here, so it's an obligatory bogus. But Microsoft has indicated it wants to further integrate its Xbox and PC efforts, and the downside here is fairly limited.

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