Fair enough Hiro, here's the extended version.
Actually I think its got a lot to do with .NET, not it specifically, but in MS' plans for trying to position itself (yet again) as YOUR central Hub for all things internet. After tackling email, browser, finances - and just about everything else - now they want to control your gaming experience, everything down from how you patch, to how you meet and play online. Do we REALLY want this?
Obviously the DRM aspect is going to be a big draw, but that nut's already been cracked through use of online key authentication - so no big deal.
Also, since when is the cookie-cutter approach going to work with respect to optimizing netcode? Let's face it, there's no way anything MS does is going to improve on what id has already done in this area. Different genre's will have different needs, but I'm just not sure we want to rely on MS trying to get it all right. Same goes with patching. The problem isn't with patching per se, but in the existence of these infernal patches to begin with. If MS is involved, you can automatically quadruple the patches required due to security holes that WILL be discovered.
And this part about gaming lobbies, which is tied to the issue of netcode, why should MS have anything to do with this, unless its for one of their games? Seems a number of companies (EA excluded) have gotten this right, so why re-invent the wheel here?
Sure all of this will benefit smaller companies, who probably will pay some MS licensing fees in lieu of developing these front ends, but that will also take away jobs from a lot of the programmers that do this stuff now. Not necessarily progress in my view.
Of course MS has done some nice things in spurring PC gaming along, such as with DirectX. But when they can't even support their OWN proprietary game controllers (Sidewinder anyone?) with software updates, what gives you any confidence they're going to solve the whole mess with Longhorn?
Hiro, we're all just a little too tired and a lot jaded to smile benignly on MS' latest one-stop-shopping solution. Improve the OS, make it stable - and leave the real innovation to those who know how.