I've played my fair share of online PC games. So, don't get me wrong when I say that while M$ is making strides towards online gaming as a wave of the future (where they believe the profits are located), I just don't agree with their strategy at this time. PC gaming went online YEARS ago, and with the exception of a VERY few titles released, the vast MAJORITY of them have not made the companies that created them a dime.
Sure, XBOX 360 is M$'s sand box, so if you want to play, you have to pay (which is the way they want it). However, for the original XBOX, Live only had a 20% subscription rate...that's not active user rate but "subscription rate" (which most likely includes a large number of those 2 month free trial cards used for accounts that were later cancelled before the fees hit the credit cards). So, that's an 80% majority of users that found ZERO need (or ability if they didn't have broadband) to even sign up for a free subscription of Live.
Sure, broadband is becoming more widespread, but, can't PC online gaming (which as been around for a while) be used as a type of previous test market example? Many PC games with online capabilities have done the VERY same thing with the majority of players only playing a game offline (against friends/LAN/bots or just single player missions only). How many copies of BF1942 were sold vs the number of active players online? (oh, and it was free to play online beyond the dialup/broadband cost, something that can't be said for XBOX 360 Live gameplay...pay to play online didn't even work for Dreamcast either).
People already have PCs for video downloads/etc. Sure, it's a nice "value added" feature in the XBOX 360. But, people purchase game machines TO PLAY GAMES FIRST AND FOREMOST. Anything beyond that is "nice", only if it's useful/used by the purchaser.
Oh well, what do I know, I'm just a gamer, not a corporate employee of M$. I'm just the guy that does (or does not) spend my money on what I see as a good deal (or not). :}