Microsoft has today announced that the Games for Windows Live Gold service will be completely free from now on and that many new features and expansions to the service are planned for the future.
The most immediate benefit of this announcement though is that PC gamers will no longer have to pay for a Live Gold account if they want to go online and try a spot of Xbox 360/PC crossplatform gaming - excellent if you're a fan of Shadowrun
or Universe at War
Microsoft has also announced
that it will be expanding the PC end of the Live service in the future to more closely mirror the benefits of the Xbox 360 Live platform. This means we can look forward to a Games for Windows Live Marketplace in the near future, as well as an arena for all other bits and pieces - demos, wallpapers, the works!
Games for Window Live will also offer achievements, matchmaking and other functions, meaning that Microsoft will be directly competing with the likes of Valve's Steam service.
While Steam has set the standard by which all other services are generally judged, Valve as a developer has indicated that it isn't necessarily interested in being the de facto digital publisher. If that means we can get Episode 3
that much earlier then that's fine by us!
Have you ever used Games for Windows Live? What did you think about it? Let us know in the forums