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May 22, 2007

Going LIVE with Halo 2 for Windows Vista

This weekend I was able to give Halo 2 for Windows Vista a test run. They have truly done an amazing job with bringing this game to Windows Vista. Tina Wood interviewed Jo Clowes from Hired Gun a few weeks ago on Halo 2 for Windows Vista talking about what the game offers for Windows Vista users and what is different between the console version and PC version of the game. However I want to dive a little deeper to the LIVE features that Halo 2 for Windows Vista offers.

Halo 2 for Windows Vista is Games for Windows – LIVE “enabled” meaning you can sign-in to your Xbox Live Account and earn achievement points throughout the game that improves your gamerscore (just like you would a game on the Xbox 360). Don’t have an Xbox Live Account? All you need to do is go to and set one up with your Windows Live ID. Any achievement you unlock within Halo 2 or any other LIVE enabled game will appear under your Gamertag.

You will be able to play with other Halo 2 for Windows Vista players in awesome multiplayer action. You will not be able to play with Halo 2 players who are playing on the Xbox console however (see Tina’s video on Channel 10 for explanation). Halo 2 for Windows Vista is designed for slick PC-to-PC gaming experiences. You get 23 multiplayer maps, along with a Map Editor to customize maps and will be able to download exclusive content for Halo 2 for Windows Vista as well. You can even setup a dedicated Halo 2 Server too! You will need an Xbox Live Gold account to enable multiplayer achievements, LIVE game hosting, and in-game chat.

The LIVE experience starts right when you fire up the game after installation. You sign in with your Windows Live ID and your Gamer Profile from Xbox Live is active within the game. Accessing Xbox Live and your friends on Xbox Live is done through the Guide.

Within the Guide, you will be able to view messages, view which friends are online, see game players, launch a private chat with a friend, and tweak your personal settings and profile. If your friends are on their Xbox 360’s they will see you sign in just as if you were on an Xbox 360 too and will be able to chat and send you messages.

Through LIVE – you will be able to jump into Quickmatches on public servers throughout internet. If you have a Gold account, you’ll be able to jump into Gold-only LIVE servers. There is peer-to-peer abilities as well.

Game Options Screenshots:

Xbox Live Screenshots (the Guide):

In-Game Screenshots:

Overall – Halo 2 for Windows Vista takes PC gaming to the next level. And this is only the beginning for Games for Windows – LIVE!

On my way to Los Angeles last week for WinHEC, I stopped by and picked up a few magazines for the trip. One of the magazines was the Games for Windows Official Magazine’s June 2007 issue. Inside, they interview Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Entertainment and Devices Division Peter Moore who talks candidly with the magazine on Games for Windows – LIVE. Very cool (and interesting) article. Worth checking out if you want hints at what is to come.