Microsoft’s much-touted Games for Windows – LIVE service is truly up and running, following last week’s release of cross-platforming Sci-Fi shooter Shadowrun
and (finally) the release of the upscaled Halo 2
on PC this week.
The PC version of Halo 2
promises to deliver improved graphics, a custom map editor and the chance to earn achievements – a first for the Halo
is a decidedly hardcore shooter that is bound to appeal to twitch-shooting fans. The fact that you can play "seamlessly" with up to 15 others – on PCs or on Xbox 360s – is testament to the potential of Micrsoft’s ‘Live Anywhere’ vision.
Read SPOnG’s recent interview with Shadowrun’s creative director, Mitch Gitelman
from FASA Studios.
Games for Windows – LIVE is aimed at connecting the six million Xbox LIVE members with the millions of PC gamers worldwide, bringing “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… [plus] integrated in-game multiplayer voice chat, as well as functionality demanded by PC gamers like dedicated server support, as part of the free Silver membership.”
However, for the truly hardcore LIVE gamer, features such as Shadowrun
’s cross-platform gameplay, multiplayer achievements, 'matchmaking' according to skill, reputation; and gamerzone will only be available to paying members with Gold memberships.
In other Microsoft news, SPOnG, along with the other selected games journalists that have actually managed to score an invitation this year (“the chosen ones”), has just completed Microsoft’s registration for its E3 2007 press briefing and party which is set to take place on the Tuesday evening prior to the actual E3 event itself.
The registration process raised a few eyebrows this morning, with some rather bizarre personal questions nestled in amongst the usual box ticking, including:Who is your favorite musical artist? What is your favorite achievement?
Okay, let's hope Microsoft does manage to get Mark E Smith and The Fall along to play our favourite music as we tell the story of SPOnG's favourite - not greatest - achievement.
So, what do we hope to hear from Microsoft at E3 in 2007? Certainly we’ll be hearing more about the plans for the Live Anywhere vision
, Games for Windows and Halo 3
. But what surprises do we secretly hope they have in store? Wish-lists in the forum please.