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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 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 ; )

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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