Microsoft finally announced at Seattle's Gamefest 2008 event this week that Games For Windows – Live on PC would be free of charge.

Microsoft previously came under fire for charging PC gamers to get the "premium" online features in Games For Windows- Live titles, such as TrueSkill matchmaking, cross-platform gameplay and multiplayer achievements.

When the Games For Windows - Live service was launched back in 2007, Microsoft originally offered free PC-to-PC multiplayer gaming and community features, but charged $50 per year (inclusive of an Xbox Live gold membership) for all the extra value-added features.

Free, as in no money

The free features on Games For Windows- Live have been immediately implemented.

Microsoft also announced that the Games For Windows - Live marketplace is set to get a more user-friendly interface later this year and is also set to offer both free and paid-for downloadable content including games, playable demos and trailers.

Kevin Unangst, Microsoft's senior global director of Games For Windows said, somewhat vaguely: "Now that we'll have the Marketplace that we'll distribute content on, the content does not have to be identical, the game types may be different.

"Pricing models, which we're not going into detail on today, may be different as well, based on what the expectations and needs are of the PC market versus the console market."

"Since we introduced Games for Windows Live we've listened to developers and to PC gamers and they said look, there's a baseline expectation that multiplayer is a service that is just free on Windows; that is just how it works."