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Windows 8 to integrate Xbox Live, handling gaming on PCs and tablets

Microsoft's got big plans for Xbox Live -- it's going to bake it into Windows 8, turning it into a multimedia service you can access from PCs, tablets and phones, as well as games consoles.

Microsoft's Xbox Live service will be built into Windows 8, turning the Xbox 360's online gaming platform into a massive multimedia hub that works across all Windows 8 devices, which we've already heard will include PCs and tablets.

"Live has been successful on the Windows Phone. Live will be built into the PC. It will be the service where you get your entertainment," said Mike Delman of Microsoft, in an interview with the Seattle Times.

"Xbox Live will be the pervasive media service across devices."

Microsoft wants to turn Xbox Live into its go-to place for all downloads and video, whatever device you're using. Just as Apple has the App Store, Microsoft would use Xbox Live to handle movie, music and possibly app downloads too. We wouldn't be surprised if XBL became the way gaming is handled on the new version of Windows either, replacing the much-criticised Games for Windows.

The idea of logging into Xbox Live on our PCs using our gamertag and accessing the games, movies and music we've already downloaded on our Xbox 360 consoles is certainly an appealing one, especially as it means only paying once for those tasty, tasty downloads. We'd love to see Xbox Live Arcade games available for desktops and tablets too.

Xbox Live is one of the best assets Microsoft has, so it's not surprising it's keen to push it across phones, tablets and PCs, as well as games consoles. Having one service you use across devices also cuts down on confusion -- as Delman notes, "People want to be able to navigate through multiple devices in a certain ecosystem very seamlessly."

As Delman points out, Microsoft has already crammed Xbox Live into its Windows Phone mobile operating system, which was a smart move -- it's one of our favourite things about the slick, tile-based OS.

Would you buy into one service that worked across all your devices? Or does this sound like something Microsoft is liable to screw up? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.