With all sorts of speculation running rampant about next generation consoles, next generation software and just about anything with the words “next gen” in it, the one thing most people have been overlooking is integration. In fact, “next gen” may not even be so much of an evolutionary step in software/hardware as it is a step towards optimized integration. To further clarify this point, a spokesperson for Microsoft revealed that Xbox Live will be integrated into PC [operating systems] and that Windows 8 users will get all their entertainment needs directly from Live. It's just another step Microsoft is taking to really monopolize the online gaming space.

According to Insideris [via Sir Games], Microsoft’s vice president of global marketing, Mike Delman confirmed that…
Live has been successful on the Windows Phone. Live will be built into the PC. It will be the service where you get your entertainment. We were talking about it — you will not just see consoles and handhelds at this show next year, this show’s going to morph into other devices.

So what makes this any different from Windows Live? Honestly, I’m not really sure. Although, for most basic Windows 7 and Windows Vista systems you still have to download Windows Live separately. So apparently the entire multiplatform infrastructure will be linked together.

Speculation has also spread from this bit of news that Xbox 360 games may be playable on Windows 8 systems. This seems somewhat unlikely but not entirely impossible. Microsoft is still racking in tons of cash keeping the PC and Xbox 360 mutually exclusive and I don’t see why they would jeopardize their consistent cash-flow by allowing PC gamers to bypass buying an Xbox 360 to play Xbox 360 games. Still, it will be very interesting to see what comes out of the whole Windows 8-Xbox Live integration.

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