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I am now playing Halo 2.

This sounds like I’m horribly behind the times, but in fact I’m only a year behind. I’ve played through all of Halo 2 on the Xbox, mastered the multiplayer, pwnd n00bs and l33ts alike, and have enjoyed the game like crazy. However, at some point, long ago, I stopped playing on Xbox Live and canceled my account. Then the world moved past me.

Suddenly we’re on Xbox 360 and Live has been totally retooled. You can now opt to NOT play against foul mouthed 9-year-olds (you can even mute specific people), and giving negative feedback about someone actually does something to them!

Not having the funds for a 360, I kept the multiplayer experience for video game parties at friend’s houses. And I was happy with that (my thoughts on anonymous multiplayer changed drastically when I realized I seemed to be the only person who wasn’t practicing Halo like I had nothing else to do in life).

Fast forward to my birthday; Schmidty and Squishy game me a copy of Lego Indiana Jones and Star Trek Legacy for Windows (more on that in another post). I booted them up, and realized I MUST have a better way to control them than the keyboard and mouse, so it was off to the store to get an Xbox360 controller (the USB one is easily recognized and used in Windows Vista).

Suddenly, I was in a new world of gaming! The new “Games For Windows” approach that Microsoft has put together is brilliant! All the games work as they are intended and match their console counterparts exactly! I can play all the greatest Xbox360 games on my PC, and all I have to do is wait a month or so for them to be released. Add to that, the fact that some Games For Windows are Live enabled (and Live is free for GFW players)!

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.

Excitedly, I looked it up . . . YUP; Halo 2 for Vista is right there on the list!

* Includes 23 Multiplayer Maps
* Plus Bonus Map Editor
* Plus Exclusive Content
* Games for Windows – LIVE enabled

So, I got it home, signed up for Live (had to create a new account, whole other gripe about that), and got Schmidty online to frag.

Only I couldn’t. I couldn’t even receive his invites.

After much internet searching, I came to the ONLY source of information concerning the problem over at Joystiq.com.  It seems that Bungie, in all their wisdom, decided that Windows users wouldn’t WANT to play against Xbox 360 users and created a new gaming network for Windows only gamers.  On top of that, Windows users probably don’t want their achievements shown on their gamertag at Bungie.net

From Bungie.net: Correct only xbox stats are shown.

From: Zuke [mailto:dontspamme@ever.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 10:53 AM
To: Bnet Bugs
Subject: No love for Windows?

I play Halo 2 for Vista on Live. Though I can see my gamertag on Bungie.net, it doesn’t pull any info from the “Live” games I’ve played. Is this by design?

At least Microsoft got it partially right by allowing achievements to be shown on xbox.com (for all the frakking good they do).

I’d like to say the PC Multiplayer is at least okay for now, except it seems the only people who are playing it are missing a hand and half their brain; though I’m always the one with horrid latency, making it look like people are teleporting all over the place, I am consistently killing EVERYONE.

Of course, being geeks, Schmidty and I are already at work on using a third party service as a workaround, but that is entirely beside the point.  They specifically state that Live enabled games will work across platforms.  Even after they updated their site, it still only says “on specific games”; no game site will say if it’s one of them.

PC Multiplayer using a remote game server is a 15 year old practice!  Where is the next-gen in that?  We were promised cross-platform playability!!

Zuke

Co-founder of Stolendroids.com and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident 'tech-head' and de-facto leader of the group.