Let's run the numbers. In 2007, Microsoft had seven GFW Live enabled titles. In 2008, they made parity with seven more. By contrast, the number of overall Games For Windows branded titles released in either year was four times that.
So two consecutively mediocre years... Surely we'll finally get our bumper crop of Live-enabled games in 2009?
Think again. Year-to-date, we're only looking confirmedly at Relic's Dawn of War II, Volition's Red Faction: Guerilla, and Eidos's Battlestations: Pacific. You can make a case for a few others, but they're as yet tentative when it comes to timetables.
Here's what's even more confounding: If console games like Square Enix's The Last Remnant and Volition's Saints Row 2 and Monolith's F.E.A.R. 2 can arrive fully Xbox Live enabled, why aren't these 2009 Games For Windows titles de facto GFW Live-enabled too?
I love the new GFW Live interface. It's simple, unobtrusive, responsive, adds complementary metrics like achievements, and extends my constellation of online gamer pals built off years of console play over to my preferred gaming platform.
But to date, it feels like it's still in launch mode, with at best uncertain plans for proper and dependable future mainstreaming.
So hooray Windows Vista Service Release 3, i.e. "Windows 7." You're a champ, even if it's partially because we've all upgraded our hardware to pry away Vista's clumsy death grip.
Now could someone please take the tricycle wheels off GFW Live, and ante up the Games For Windows standards list by adding "Supports GFW Live"?
Matt Peckham hasn't scotched his Windows 7 install since he downloaded the beta. You can follow his dispatches at twitter.com/game_on.