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Microsoft To Open Xbox Live to PC Users

Mike Musgrove

Microsoft announced plans this morning to open up its "Xbox Live" service to PC owners who don't own the Xbox 360 game console.

Like to play Halo 2 on the PC against your friends? Starting May 8, you'll also be able to connect with other PC game fans using the same slick online service that Microsoft created for the Xbox 360. There's also an upcoming "shooter" game in the works where PC players and Xbox 360 players will be able to go head-to-head in cross-platform matches.

Here's how Microsoft pitches the new feature, in this morning's press release: "We're bringing together two communities that share a passion for playing online games, and we're enhancing the online experience for PC gamers who have long desired seamless game and voice connectivity," a quote attibuted to Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft.

My memory is shaky on this, but I don't think this is entirely a first. Six or seven years back, when Xbox exec Moore was a top exec at Sega, the same feature was touted for that company's Dreamcast console. People playing Quake III Arena on the Dreamcast were supposed to be able to play against gamers playing the same title on their PCs.

Google seems to bear out this piece of video game history/trivia, but, like I say my memory is shaky-- if anybody ever actually did this, please chime in.

By Mike Musgrove  |  March 14, 2007; 12:18 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Not ONLY did Sega do this. But the very famous Final fantasy XI is on THREE platforms. The PC, PS2, and XBOX360. So this is certainly not anything new...but I still look forward to playing more crossplatform games. I think it is a great investment for manufacturers considering there are a lot of people, like myself, that realize that a video console will NEVER be as good as my PC.

Posted by: Scott | March 14, 2007 12:16 PM

You should take a look at Final Fantasy XI. That's exactly what they did with the 360, PC, and PS2.

Posted by: random somebody | March 14, 2007 12:17 PM

Yes I use to race online with a game called EVO offroad with my pc against Dreamcast users.

Posted by: Jim | March 14, 2007 12:21 PM

Final Fantasy is one game. Plus, this is Xbox live on your PC. You'll have your friends list right there, be able to video chat, and ACHIEVEMENTS BABY! Who hasn't been wanted to earn achievements playing Halo 2?

Posted by: Sean | March 14, 2007 12:32 PM

Why games developers & publishers didn't press harder for this interoperability a long time ago can only be seen as an example of how little commercial acumen such companies possess.

Only the hardware manufactures gain from platform exclusive deals.

Lets say 3 friends have PS2 and are wild over some online version of Grand Theft Auto, exclusive PS2 and the 4th friend is shut out since it's not on XBox.

It unlikely that the guy who already has a Xbox is going to switch to PS2 so he can play with his friends.

However, me might well ditch his XBox-only Splinter Cell - to hook up with his friends online with GTA.

An extra copy sold.

Oh, and 4 happy friends who will start showing brand loyalty to software house or development style - as enjoyed ID software since Doom and Nintendo since Mario.

Posted by: jason jarvis | March 14, 2007 12:32 PM

The upcoming "shooter" that is coming that will allow PC players to play against xbox 360 players is called [url=]Shadowrun[/url].

Sharing your Live account on a 360 and PC will be incredible. Because of this, I might consider becoming a PC gamer.

Posted by: UnrivaledSHOGUN | March 14, 2007 12:38 PM

Scratch the post above this.

The upcoming "shooter" that is coming that will allow PC players to play against xbox 360 players is called Shadowrun.

Sharing your Live account on a 360 and PC will be incredible. Because of this, I might consider becoming a PC gamer.

Posted by: UnrivaledSHOGUN | March 14, 2007 12:39 PM

Yeah I played Quake 3 on Dreamcast and PC against opponents from the other side.

Halo console players are going to have a rude awakening when they face PC players. The mouse and keyboard allows for much finer control, and in the hands of a good player this will devastate people on clumsy console controllers.

And in the world of online FPS... In every game there is ALWAYS a good player.

Posted by: Dave | March 14, 2007 12:58 PM

What made the 360 so great for FPS games was that it was so hard to hack that there were few modders out there. WIth the advent of this that will go away. MS is giving away the core demographic just to hopfully get a few more subscribers..... Now that makes sense..... HA HA HA HA

Posted by: JZ | March 14, 2007 1:20 PM

Dave is right. The PC players will have a great advantage. Hopefully they will also have XBOX only games on live as well for those of us who don't want the extra challenge.

Posted by: Ed | March 14, 2007 1:22 PM

Online FPS games have long been the heart of PC gaming. Personally, because of better precision control on the PC, I think console players would have a harder time when facing PC gamers. I wouldn't be surprised if this start a internal battle of the PC versus the console.

Posted by: Ed | March 14, 2007 1:23 PM

I'd like to play some of the PS3 titles like fight night against 360 users, but I will not pay for the service after I shelled out more than $60 for the game.

Posted by: Joe | March 14, 2007 1:35 PM

I personally think this will allow more cheating and a unfair advantage for most on the FPS, MMRPGS work on all systems RTS @ FPS DO NOT =(

Posted by: EdtheSavage | March 14, 2007 1:51 PM

Yes, this could allow for some PC users to have an advantage over 360 users or vice versa. Whether there is cheating or not, this is an excellent marketing tool to branch out gaming. However, it would be even better if users could specify whether they wanted to play matches versus console only players, PC only players, or all. Are there any plans to incorporate this into the match settings?

Posted by: Chris K. | March 14, 2007 1:59 PM

They'll do anything to justify a raise in the rate for XBox Live. Thanks Microsoft, glad I didn't have to buy my 360.

Posted by: BoysOfSummer | March 14, 2007 2:02 PM

I let my Live account expire a year ago becasue I got soo tired of trying to play while most of theother players were irritating kids who were more interested in trash talking than actually playing the game. Now that the PC is being let in I may renew my account. I'd love to play GOW on the PC vs console players. :-) And since the developer did saw a while back that there will be a PC port of the game... Now it would be cooler if we could create our own levels and such and upload them to XBOX Live to be used by both PC and XBOX players. Things are getting interesting... Oh and please stop the "Let's Trash MS" stuff. It pretty stupid if you hate them so much why are you using their online service and buying their console? I say STFU and play!

Posted by: Norman619 | March 14, 2007 2:24 PM

With the lackluster reception of Windows Vista, I can see Microsoft making Vista a requirement to use XBox Live on their PC.

I'm not a Microsoft hater, but I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: GoogleFreak | March 14, 2007 2:51 PM

The PC mouse VS. the Xbox/X360 controller.

I don't think live FPS will be as appreciated on the Xbox/X360 anymore.

Precision is Power!

Posted by: Andy | March 14, 2007 3:04 PM

Seems like MS needs the PC gamer more than PC gamers need XBox players to play against.

Given the lackluster performance of Vista, I can see why they are touting this now as well.

Posted by: swerv | March 14, 2007 3:11 PM

This will work but i think you will find that there will be alot of online games set up so only console users can play or pc users can play. PC users will have an amazing amount of an advantage. better sound, better screen and better controls. i know xbox 360 has can use hi def but pc monitors are way cheaper than a LCDTV so more pc users have a better screen that most. with mouse and keyboard the accuracy and maneuverability is way higher that the console alternatives. but the big question is "is Microsofts next gen console a PC or is the PC a next gen console?"

Posted by: A scott | March 14, 2007 4:19 PM

The "lackluster" welccome of Vista means nothing really. It was released before driver support was there so no big deal. Vista is going to do to XP what XP did to 2000. As for gaming, gamers will want to dual boot Vista if they want to be able to play DX10 games since DX10 is a Vista exclusive technology. But this again won't be a big draw for at least a year. I haven't seen any games written for DX10 due out any time soon. Sure big titles like UT2K7 will have a DX10 patch but it's not truly a DX10 game. We won't see those till 2008. So at the moment there is no real good reason to make the leap to Vista. This is not saying anything bad about Vista. It will replace XP eventually just like XP replaced 2000.

Posted by: Norman619 | March 14, 2007 4:20 PM

"but the big question is "is Microsofts next gen console a PC or is the PC a next gen console?"

Err.. well the PC has a major advantage over consoles. It's an ever evolving platform. New hardware comes out damn near monthly. Why is this? BEcause PC's aren't game consoles. They aren't designed for just gaming. So no the PC is not a "nextgen console." PC's will always offer a better richer gaming experience. And you are probably right. It's bad enough when you are playing against other PC gamers in a FPS and they accuse you of cheating just because you are wiping the floor with them constantly. Console players will no doubt make the same accusations about PC gamers. I play on both the XBOX and the PC and well I am a MUCH more efficiant killer on the PC than I am on the XBOX. There's something about the keyboard and mouse. I find the console controller very awkward.

Posted by: Norman619 | March 14, 2007 4:28 PM

Yet, there are some people like me who find the console control(xbox not sony) far more efficient, i regularly hit 80% hit pecentage on my 360 and battle to get 60 on my pc. so i persoannally beleive the "pc is more precise" thing is nuts

Posted by: Stormie | March 14, 2007 5:11 PM

See what your hit percentage is with your aim assist turned off on your xbox FPS games :)

Posted by: ProPCGamer | March 14, 2007 5:27 PM

The other day I came across this Mouse-based controller for the PS2.

We may see something similar in the future for the 360:

Posted by: Dan | March 14, 2007 5:39 PM

I don't see many PC gamers paying an annual fee to use this service. Online gaming is already free on the PC, why would I pay to play against inherently disadvantaged opponents online in games that I'm probably not interested in in the first place. Halo 2? No thanks. Crysis? Yes please.

Posted by: The Loacker | March 15, 2007 7:12 AM

No way u got 80 hit %

Posted by: JaNuS | March 15, 2007 8:23 AM

80% is not uncommon to hit regularly in Halo without aim assist for those who play it regularly. I do believe that the PC may hold an advantage over the 360 however. Adding PC gamers will probably increase the cheating aspect of it since there tend to be more anal PC gamers who have to win at all costs than console gamers. (Not that consoles don't have those as well.) All in all as long as the service is free for PC gamers, I think it is a good move.

Posted by: Richard | March 16, 2007 4:37 PM

I don't think PC (controls wise) will have an advantage over XBox/360 users. If you are used to a 360 control, it's easier. Personally, I play PC, so keyboard/ mouse is waaay easier for me. In FPSs I can do really well, but playing XBox over at my friends' house...well, I suck.

If anything, it's just because PC gamers play way more.

Posted by: ThunderKat | March 22, 2007 7:02 PM

OMG, this article is old now. But I'm still gonna post in it.

Posted by: Theguy | March 30, 2007 1:29 PM

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