When I reviewed Games for Windows LIVE last year, I wasn't impressed. And while Microsoft appears to be making the right moves here, let's be honest. This ship has sailed. Free multiplayer gaming has been available forever on the PC. So welcome to the party, Microsoft. You may find there's no more room for you at the buffet, however.

Introducing Games for Windows – LIVE, the free gaming service built for Windows that makes great Windows games even better.  With Games for Windows – LIVE, you get an online identity – called a gamertag – and a friends list that works across multiple games, the XBOX 360, and even the Zune music service.  You can easily find and communicate with your friends online with text and voice chat.  Earn achievements and Gamerscore that lets you track and compare your accomplishments. 

Play multiplayer games with your friends, or play against new opponents online using our exclusive TrueSkill matchmaking system – with other Windows players or with or against XBOX 360 players (in supported games.)

All of this is possible today – and at no charge.

Thanks Dave.

Not to really beat up Microsoft for something that may seem irrelevant, but I'd love for there to be some consistency on the Live branding stuff. For example, why is it sometimes "LIVE" and sometimes "Live"? Why is "gamertag" not capitalized, but "Gamerscore" is (see above)? Why is Xbox all capitalized above (XBOX)? And why is Games for Windows LIVE actually called out as "Games for Windows – LIVE"?

Silly.