Update:We found a press release in an unexpected Inbox folder that gives a few more details on Microsoft's announcements. All of the user-matching, cross-platform multiplayer, and other formerly-premium services via the Games for Windows Live Gold Membership should now be free (effective today, says Microsoft). The digital distribution comes this fall, along with a revamped user-interface.
The release also features the official announcement from Microsoft of DirectX 11. Features include support for GPU computing, and better use of multicore CPUs, among others.
We have an interview with Microsoft's Kevin Unangst in a few hours, so we'll be able to find out more shortly, but the basic news is that Microsoft has announced that it will be adding digital distribution to its Games for Windows Live program. It also plans to shed all user fees connected to its Games for Windows Live, whose Gold membership level previously required a $7.99-a-month fee for some advanced services.
Microsoftat its plans to sell online game downloads a few months ago. Combined with no more user fees (which we're not sure anyone actually paid to begin with), Games for Windows Live becomes a more direct competitor to Valve's Steam service.
Thanks, Shack, for the heads up.