Pre-E3 06: Xbox Live goes everywhere

Bill Gates, CEO and chief software architect of Microsoft, is taking Xbox Live to a whole new level. Today, Gates told the E3 press that Microsoft’s Live Anywhere service will launch when the Vista PC operating system becomes available early next year. Live Anywhere will combine your friends list, messages, matchmaking and gamertag information across Xbox consoles, Windows mobile phones and drum roll please… your Windows Vista-powered PC.

Did he say matchmaking? Yes - you’ll be able to spot friends playing your favorite games and hit them up for co-op and versus play. Microsoft and developers seemed confident that players will find quality gameplay irrespective of their platform choice - even with first-person shooters. We watched a demonstration of multiplayer Shadowrun over the Live Anywhere service combining players made up of both console and PC gamers. There was nary a glitch, and gameplay was seemingly balanced. Consider us impressed.

Above: Bill Gates looks on as Peter Moore introduces Microsoft's 2006 E3 lineup

Gamertags and gamerscores will be integrated across all platforms, so you’ll simply have one identity that will become shared. Mr. Gates also promised that if you buy a game through the Live service, you’ll have access to it whether you want to play on the 360, the PC or even your mobile phone. Initially, this probably means low-horsepower games like what’s available on the Xbox Live Arcade, but Gates claims that developers have been gifted with an enormous new canvas to create portable, cross-platform experiences.

We’re more than excited to see what they come up with.

May 9, 2006


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