NEWS - Monday, February 19, 2007

Xbox Live for free?

Microsoft has suggested that multiplayer gaming through Live on Windows Vista will be a free service, unlike on Xbox 360 where users have to subscribe to Gold membership to access to multiplayer. During an interview, Microsoft’s Shane Kim was asked whether it’d be free for PC users to play against friends, while certain premium-level stuff would be locked behind Gold. "Theoretically speaking, that’s exactly the kind of thing we’d want to do", he replied. PC gaming’s traditional ’multiplayer for free’ ethic that exists with the platform is a factor being taken fully into account by Microsoft for Live on Windows. "In the Xbox world when we created Xbox Live, there was no other option. We’re sort of creating it as we go, we established that model and that framework. As we come into the Windows gaming world, there are alternatives that are out there so we have to be cognizant of that", said Kim. "We do recognize that, unlike the Xbox 360 environment, there’s existing competition in the PC online space. So we have to take that into account as we think about how we’re going to structure our services, what they’ll pay for and what they won’t". It’s possible that Microsoft’s plan for an integrated Live experience across PC and Xbox 360 could prove positive for 360 owners in regard to paid-for content. If multiplayer gaming’s provided free through Windows Live, then the company may just see fit to offer the same to Xbox 360 fans.


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