Microsoft confirmed their keynote predictions today with the announcement of the Microsoft Game Room, a new service for playing classic arcade games on XBox Live or the Games for Windows network.
The official release confirms our earlier post-conference report detailing Robert Bach's promises of a "retro gaming service" that offers players a chance to play classic arcade games alone or with friends using Xbox Live Avatars and voice chat. Cross-platform play will be available as players take turns competing against each other or alone in ranked games to earn a place on the global leaderboards.
The requisite Xbox Live Achievement system is in place across both platforms and players will be able to message friends with custom invites and challenges, though we have no word yet on whether or not achievements are platform-specific or tied to one global account.
The Microsoft Game Room is free to download when it debuts this spring, but to populate your virtual space you'll need to shell out for each individual game and decide whether you want to play on a single system or multiple platforms. Picking up a game like Asteroids for play on both XBox 360 and Games For Windows will run you $5 (400 MS Points,) but buying the same game for a single platform (360 or PC) is only $3 (240 MS Points.) You can also try out a new game before you buy by playing on a friend's machine for free or ponying up the MS Point equivalent of two quarters (about 40 MS Points) for a single play.