Microsoft to give PC gamers a taste of Xbox Live
Continuing its round of CES announcements, Microsoft has revealed that three upcoming games—Shadowrun, Halo 2, and Mattel's Uno—will allow PC users running Windows Vista to play on Xbox Live and use Xbox Live services.
Delivering on a vision that Microsoft presented at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006, Microsoft Game Studios' "Shadowrun" and Mattel's "UNO" are part of the first wave of Live titles that bring the benefits of Xbox Live® to gamers on Windows Vista, including an active community of nearly 5 million gamers, a single identity for each gamer across Windows and Xbox 360, as well as Achievements, which redefine what it means to conquer a game and share accomplishments with friends. The Live gaming and entertainment network will enable gamers to play and communicate online across both of Microsoft's gaming platforms, bringing more players and their friends together to play and connect in new, exciting ways. In addition, "Halo® 2" for Windows Vista (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios) will also support Live, including enabling Windows gamers to communicate with Xbox Live gamers and earn Achievements in the famed "Halo 2" campaign — a first for any "Halo" title on any platform.
While PC gamers may rejoice at the idea of being able to play Halo 2 skirmishes with their Xbox 360-equipped counterparts, they'll apparently be segregated. The folks at Joystiq asked Microsoft for clarification, and the company replied
that there won't actually be any cross-platform gameplay between PCs running Windows Vista and the Xbox 360.
That's not to say Microsoft doesn't care about PC gamers, though. In its press release, Microsoft says publishers including Atari, LucasArts, Midway, Turbine, 2K Games, THQ, and Vivendi Universal have all joined its Games for Windows initiative. As part of the initiative, the companies' games will have to "meet a set of technical guidelines including easier installation, increased reliability and support for key Windows Vista features such as the Games Explorer and parental controls." The initiative will also see stores like Circuit City, CompUSA, GameStop, and Wal-Mart display Games for Windows branding in their game sections.