Windows – Live Combines Xbox and PC Gaming

Microsoft is getting ready to unleash Xbox Live for us PC Gamers, dubbed Windows – LIVE, they have only mentioned Halo 2, Shadowrun, and UNO, but the Xbox Live accounts, gamerscores and gamertags will all transfer over from existing users. There will be a free Silver account, that will allow multiplayer gaming, but not matchmaking or cross platform multiplayer, you will need a Gold account for that, and that will set you back $49.99 for a year.

While the editors of Games for Windows’ official magazine may not be ready to drink the Vista-flavored Kool-Aid just yet, Microsoft is ready to give Vista early adopters a handful of reasons to pick up the latest OS upgrade … err, at least they’re ready to announce a date when you may want to plan on doing the picking up: May 8th. Yup, in eight weeks, Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live service (doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily as Xbox Live, eh?) and its inaugural title, Halo 2, will be available for Vista users.

Don’t care much for Halo 2? In “June” Shadowrun — the first Live Anywhere title enabling cross-platform multiplayer — hits the Xbox 360 and Vista with full Live integration. The final title they’re eager to talk about is UNO, which will be released on Vista “later in 2007.” We’re not sure why a seemingly simple title like UNO isn’t making the launch of the service (or even getting a date) but Microsoft assures us there will be more news around this decision later and that it will be apparent why we’re not getting a release date now. They also said cross-platform licensing decisions for titles like UNO have not been worked out yet; we’re betting this is going to get tricky. Source: Games for Windows Live and Halo 2 hit Vista May 8th

From the Microsoft site,

Microsoft Corp. today announced the extension of the Xbox LIVE games and entertainment network to the Windows platform, bringing together the most popular online console game service with the most popular games platform in the world. Debuting on May 8, 2007, with the launch of the Windows Vista version of the Xbox blockbuster Halo 2, Games for Windows LIVE will connect Windows gamers to over six million gamers already in the Xbox LIVE community. Then, launching in June, Shadowrun? will for the first time connect Windows gamers with Xbox 360 players in cross-platform matches using a single service. UNO, releasing later in 2007, will also support cross-platform play between Windows and Xbox 360.

The launch of Games for Windows ? LIVE marks a major expansion of the Xbox LIVE service across multiple platforms, uniting gamers with a single identity, a single gamertag, a single friends list and a single list of achievements attainable on the Xbox 360 and a Windows-based PC. Games for Windows ? LIVE gamers will be able to easily find and play supported titles online with their friends across a Windows computer or an Xbox 360. As a unified service with Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows ? LIVE will be available in every country and region supported today by Xbox LIVE. Source: Microsoft Unites Xbox and PC Gamers With Debut of Games for Windows ? LIVE

Here are the membership level features:
Silver Membership Features
? Single gamertag
? Common gamer profile
? Common gamerscore
? Single player achievements
? Private chat via text and voice
? Common friends list and online presence
? PC only multiplayer including browsing a list of active PC games

Gold Membership Features
? All Silver membership features
? Multiplayer matchmaking with friends
? TrueSkill matchmaking
? Multiplayer achievements
? Cross-platform game play