Microsoft wants you to know that with the release of Shadowrun
and Halo 2 for Vista
that they are serious about this Gaming For Windows thing and that Live for the PC is pretty neato. OK, maybe those aren't there exact words (which you can check out by clicking the more button) but the release of both titles this week is significant as Live for the PC is the first real time that a console and a PC has been this tightly coupled.
The real question is if it is going to take off or not. Are PC Gamers going to really want to plunk down $50 to play games online when they can do so for free with other games? Are developers going to build in hooks to the service if the gamers aren't there to play them? It's a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum for Microsoft and even though they claim that 70% of PC gamers have 360's in the house I still get the feeling that developers aren't sold on the idea yet.
This is a busy month for Games for Windows® – LIVE! On May 29, the release of “Shadowrun™” connected Windows Vista® gamers with Xbox 360™ players in cross-platform matches through a single service. Whether in cooperation or competition, PC and Xbox 360 gamers can battle up to 16 players in the intense first-person shooter as they vie for supremacy in an experience that rewards cleverness, cunning and split-second improvisation through a unique combination of modern weapons, ancient magic and advanced technology.
This marks the first of many games to come which will support the Games for Windows – LIVE service, connecting six million Xbox LIVE® members and hundreds of millions Windows gamers. Games for Windows – LIVE brings the best of the Xbox LIVE service to Windows gamers, such as a single online identity, the ability to easily find and connect with friends, and earn achievements.
Today, May 31st, Microsoft is launching “Halo® 2” for Windows Vista, delivering improved graphics, a custom map editor and the chance to earn achievements – a first for the Halo franchise. Using a combination of dedicated servers, flexibility of the Windows platform, and the online innovation established in the Xbox® original, “Halo 2” for Windows Vista provides a best-in-class PC-to-PC multiplayer experience.
Current members of Xbox LIVE automatically receive the functionality of Games for Windows – LIVE, using the same gamertag and friends list, at no additional cost. In addition, Games for Windows — LIVE introduces the best of Xbox LIVE functionality to please PC gamers, such as integrated in-game multiplayer voice chat and Achievements, as well as functionality demanded by PC gamers like dedicated server support, as part of the free Silver membership. Gold memberships will deliver the premium online network experience which adds benefits such as multiplayer achievements, matchmaking according to skill, reputation and gamerzone, as well as cross-platform gameplay – features only Microsoft’s Games for Windows and Xbox 360 can deliver.