Microsoft is poised to make Xbox Live the most universally acceptable online gaming platform in the world.
In fact, it pretty much already was. Many consider the service to be superior to that of Sony’s rival Playstation Network, and Nintendo’s online connectivity with the Wii is sub par at best.
Of course, Microsoft is able to invest a lot of effort and resources into Xbox Live because anyone who wants to play in an online multiplayer game has to pay a subscription fee. No other platform has such a requirement.
Nevertheless, those willing to shell out the monthly or yearly access cost are largely pleased with the Xbox Live experience. Microsoft made waves last year when it rolled out a lighter version of the service to its Windows Phone platform.
That meant that for the first time, people playing on a smartphone could connect to the same gaming network as the millions of people playing on their Xbox 360s at home. It is perhaps the best thing about the Windows Phone operating system.
When it comes to PCs, though, Microsoft had a different approach. It launched Games For Windows Live a few years ago – a service that acts functionally similar to Xbox Live but is almost completely detached. GFW Live achievements are not connected to Xbox Live achievements, and friend lists between the two are separate as well.
Now, Microsoft will kill GFW Live and just make everyone connected to the same service. That will happen with Windows 8. It’s one of the many announcement made at this week’s Build conference, and was reiterated yesterday by Xbox spokesman Larry Hryb.
“Bringing Xbox LIVE to Windows 8 is part of our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” wrote Hryb in a blog post.
He noted that more details will be announced as the development of Windows 8 moves forward.