When I look back to the highlight of the gaming event calendar that is E3, which is always overflowing with ideas, demonstrations and rumours, one a few years back in 2006 really irritates every bone in my body. Bill Gates stepped up onto the stage and spoke regarding Live Anywhere for Windows Vista and mobile devices and how it would expand the Xbox Live service onto other platforms. This makes complete sense when you consider how many computers with Windows exist and would surely leave online rivals like Sony’s PlayStation Network far behind.
Recently Microsoft announced the Windows Mobile 7 Series for Mobile Phones, taking elements from the new Zune HD and more importantly adding Xbox Live features. Not only can you log in to your Xbox Live account, but you can also view and edit your avatar in full 3D, play multiplayer games, unlock achievements, view messages and invitations and all from this new portable device.
So why as I sit here using Windows 7, the successor to Vista, I still await a fully featured desktop variant of Live Anywhere so I can experience the wonders of the Xbox Live service from my computer while I browse the web or type a document? Unless you happen to own one of the very few Windows Live Anywhere compatible games, your Xbox Live connection remains entrenched with your Xbox 360 console. This is surely a missed opportunity.
Imagine a Windows 7 experience where you can quickly view your Gamercard, friends list, messages, invites, avatar, on screen notifications and join Party and Private Chats all from your computer. It seems like a no brainer to me and I am sure I am not alone in this thought either.
What makes this even more difficult to bear is when you divulge in one of the Windows Live Anywhere titles, the interface for accessing your Xbox Live information is actually really well thought out. Although you don’t have access to your created avatar or Party Chats, pretty much everything else is already there, so why oh why isn’t there a lovely well polished desktop version to further engage our enthusiasm for this fantastic multiplayer service?
I should point out that the above image I created as a mock of how it could look within the desktop of Windows. The interface is taken from Halo 2 PC and copied onto a Windows 7 wallpaper and yet even with this simple copy and paste job, it fits in so well.
Who knows maybe the removal of original Xbox games accessing Xbox Live will allow some progress in this area and I hope many of you reading this feel the same as I do, that this is a feature we would all relish.