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Live for Windows will hold onto Xbox Live prices, and will offer cross-platform gaming

No one doubts that Microsoft had plans to bring some form of its Xbox Live service and model to PC gamers after it announced its Games for Windows initiative to reinvigorate computer games. The biggest questions about a Live for Windows service are around pricing and interoperability with Xbox Live.

A new trailer for Shadowrun displayed a tiny banner of text near the end of the video which read, “Cross platform play requires Xbox Live Gold account and hard drive (on Xbox 360), or Games for Windows – Live Gold account (on Windows).” Clearly, Microsoft has plans for cross platform play between its console and the PC, and the notice of there being a “Gold” account for the Windows platform indicates a premium, paid tier of service.

Even at GDC, Microsoft remained quiet on details surrounding Live for Windows, though Game Informer has learned that the pricing for Live service will be consistent across the platforms. That means that a yearlong subscription of Gold is 49.99, one month is $7.99, and $19.99 for three months. The Silver level subscription will be free to all Live for Windows users, though it will be limited in features, such as cross platform gameplay, compared with the Gold level.

Those who have existing Xbox Live Gold subscriptions can carry over their memberships to work on PC games with all Gamertags and Gamerscore. Achievements are also expected to be worked into Games for Windows games, with Halo 2 expected to be one of the first games to incorporate the gameplay incentive feature.

Microsoft may face some challenges in convincing PC gamers to pay for features that they’ve previously been enjoying for free. While console gamers may accept the subscription model due to the differences between running a closed console platform and an open PC platform, getting gamers to pay to play online (aside from an MMORPG) could be difficult.

It remains to be seen what other incentives Microsoft will provide to its Live service for Windows to entice PC gamers to pay. Games for Windows PR director Michael Wolf said to Joystiq last year, “We're not crazy enough to think that people will suddenly start paying $50 a year to get something they already get for free on Windows ... all I can say now is that we're working to make a Gold membership worthwhile even if you're only connecting to Live from Windows Vista.”

Xbox 360 gamers, however, are probably pleased that their subscriptions are continuously expanding in functionality, from Video Marketplace movie downloads to the new age of PC gaming on Windows Vista.



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By kilkennycat on 3/7/2007 8:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
... in the case of Shadowrun, the PC mouse/KB interface response has been DELIBERATELY SLOWED to put the PC player and the console player on an equal footing :-( :-( Presumably if the PC player uses the MS Controller for Windows (the Xbox360 wired gamepad with PC driver) very little response- adjustment is needed. Hopefully this deliberate slowing of the PC mouse-interface will not become endemic for all games with counterparts on the Xbox360 and common Xbox Live access. The professional PC games players are going to get p/o'd pretty quickly.... Hopefully the games will build-in some automated sensing that only slows the mouse/KB response when any Xbox360 console players are involved in the on-line gaming session. And, of course any single-player mode in the PC version have no extra mouse/KB slow-down. From what I have read so far, Shadowrun does not have any such automatic sensing.




By WayneG on 3/7/2007 8:19:23 PM , Rating: 2
heard of adjustable DPI mice (especially the G5/7 and some Razer mice)? I can adjust the speed of my mouse on the fly as well as adjust its acceleration in games and out of games. No amount of coding within a game can stop this fact. Fact of the matter is that a lot of console junkies are going to get owned/pwned/raped/etc. This should be hilarious.


By Spoelie on 3/7/2007 8:57:32 PM , Rating: 4
mouseDistanceMoved = getPlayerInput();
if (mouseDistanceMoved > MAX_ALLOWED) mouseDistanceMoved = MAX_ALLOWED;
process(mouseDistanceMoved);

too simplistic, but it seems to me that it wouldn't be very hard to limit the speed (distance per time unit) of a crosshair in a game. If you alter the DPI and tell the program you moved more, they can still ignore it and just move it the maximum allowed speed in the direction indicated.


By Tsuwamono on 3/8/2007 2:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
i agree dude. this is why i play PC games. i hate controlers for FPS. They are great for racing and RPG but for FPS i hate it. Its not my fault some retard wants to use a controller VS me with my keyboard and mouse. Let him get raped, its his fault for being dumb


By Midas360 on 3/7/2007 11:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
Wait there one second... you may think we XBOX 360 "console junkies" use a "controller" but some of us use a mouse and keyboard. Yes that is right, there is a hardware device that allows us to play XBOX 360 games with a mouse and keyboard.

You best be ready cause we sure are.. =0}


By willow01 on 3/8/2007 12:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
I've never used one but isn't it a little different than using a mouse. Kind of like using a mouse in place of a joystick in a flight game, it won't exactly follow your movements.

Anyway aside from that there should just be a host option and maybe a game search option to match that allows you to say either "controllers only", "kb and mouse only" and or "PC only", "Xbox 360" only. I know this would kind of defeat the purpose and most probably maintain a divide in the service, but then the games don't need to be hampered on PC and people have a choice.


By Ryanman on 3/8/2007 2:18:27 AM , Rating: 2
not only is it not exactly the same, its also 80 bucks and doesnt work with my G%/G15
Howeverr, im sure its better than a controller.
so i'll save the $ for a vidcard, or yogurt i guess ; )


By comradeiggy on 3/7/2007 8:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
I hope to god they include a pc-user only option.


By Omega215D on 3/7/2007 9:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
They really shouldn't cripple mice & keyboard users because there are people who claim that they can play better using their game pad compared to people on mice & keyboard and vice versa. Seems pretty level as it is... or maybe MS should make keyboards and mice for their 360?


By otispunkmeyer on 3/8/2007 4:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
true

if the games are gonna be PC and 360, then there is no excuse for not getting a Kb and mouse working on both setups like the controller set up works on both.

i mean, i know they'll bothered about less people not paying for the heavily marked up peripherals but surely they can make like a 360 specific wireless/wired KB and mouse that stops people just using any old KBM.


By Gatt on 3/7/2007 10:13:42 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not convinced it'll make a difference.

It's not the speed of the controller that's an issue so much as the precision of the mouse/keyboard that makes the difference.

I've no problem moving quickly in any of my 360 games, I have problems moving precisely.


By Magnus Dredd on 3/8/2007 10:53:32 AM , Rating: 2
1) If the PC version has it's controls handicapped, I won't buy it.

2) If I have to use Live to play it online (with no options for LAN), then I won't buy it. The ONLY game I EVER play against people I don't know is America's Army. I do however play some games (Dawn of War, Doom3) with some friends on the net, or they come over for a LAN party. I play multiplayer games with my friends as a social thing because that's what I enjoy.

3) I won't pay for Live. I don't like consoles, I hate the controllers. I already have a Core2 PC, a Core2 laptop, and a few Athlons, all on my home network... Why would I pay for a gaming service guaranteed to be full of obnoxious children, anti-social griefers, annoying whiners, and obsessed uber-gamers who develop God-like skills from playing 8 hours a day and destroy everyone else.


By PrezWeezy on 3/8/2007 1:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really see why. I know from playing Halo that I can get crushed no matter what I'm playing on. The really good PC gamers are going to kill the crappy 360 gamers, and vice-versa. I play casualy so I expect to get destroyed when I play online but I don't think a mouse/kb is going to make me any better. It's just a preference. I have a friend who can snipe anyone, anytime for hours on end and never die on the 360. Put him on a PC and he gets owned every time. It's all about what you learn on and what you can work better with.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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