The thing that really makes gaming on the Xbox 360 far superior to other consoles on the market is the Xbox Live service. This subscription service provides XBox's and Xbox games with multiplayer game play, Social interaction, and recently added movies and TV Shows. This service has been hugely popular with the 10.4 million Xbox owners as evident by the 5 Million current subscribers.
This widely popular service will soon be coming to a Windows Vista PC. Which makes sense as the Windows PC is the largest gaming platform on the planet with over 200 million gamers.
It is currently using the "Live" brand, but my hope is that we will see Microsoft choose something else before they officially launch the stand alone service later in the calendar year this year. In my opinion the "Live" brand on the Windows side has too many entries so even a "Live for Windows Games" service might still add confusion for consumer in an ecosystem of other "Live" branded products. Microsoft has made great efforts to eliminate this type of confusion for Windows Vista games with the "Games for Windows" initiative and it would be shame to see it wasted.
Initially the service will be limited to in-game services and you will see this ship in the upcoming releases of Shadow Run, Halo 2 for Windows Vista, and Uno as shown at the CES keynote yesterday.
Microsoft has been doing well with the Live subscription service and clearly wants to tap into the vast potential that the 200 million gamers its Windows Platform represents. In talking to representatives at the partner pavilion close to this effort they intent, at least currently, to maintain the subscription fee. However, when pressed about what happens when they are faced with a Massive Multiplayer online games looking to leverage the service (like a World of Warcraft) they left the door open for an incremental charge for use of that game.