Xbox Live will be integrated into Windows 8, and will likely be similar to the service offered on the console, combining Live Messenger, Zune, Games for Windows Marketplace and more.
During an E3 2011 interview with the Seattle Times, vice president of global marketing at Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business group Mike Delman said that Xbox Live will be integrated into Windows 8. The revelation was made after the paper admitted that it was surprised more wasn't revealed about the connections between the Xbox 360 and WP7 devices during Microsoft’s press event.
"Live has been successful on the Windows Phone," he said. "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."
He went on to say that Live will be the primary entertainment center for Windows Phone handhelds. "If we have that and the PCs to leverage, that will be a big Live base," he added. "It's our job to make 'buy a movie in one place and play it everywhere, buy a game in one place and play it everywhere.' Making things portable will be a big focus of ours."
So how will Xbox Live's services and content be integrated into Windows 8? Naturally Delman wouldn't be specific. "There will be a lot of similarities in design and service philosophy. Whether it's us or Apple or anybody else, people want to be able to navigate through multiple devices in a certain ecosystem very seamlessly so we're committed to that."
Xbox Live will the pervasive media service across devices, he said. In fact, Delman hinted that Microsoft may actually unify most of its current assets such as Xbox Live, Zune, Windows Live Messenger (Skype?) and SkyDrive, as it would be "good for us and good for consumers."
Unlike the Xbox 360 console, Microsoft-sanctioned entertainment on the PC is currently broken up into separate applications. As always, Live Messenger is a standalone chat client. Those seeking music, apps and movies must load up the Zune software. PC games, demos and add-ons for Windows-based machines are purchased and downloaded through the standalone Games for Windows Marketplace client. Internet TV can even be accessed through the Windows Media Center.
Indeed, merging all Microsoft content and services into one client would be "good for consumers." Honestly, we'd like to see the unification roll out in an update for Windows 7 sometime this year.