martin wrote:try steam, unlike microsoft valve don't ask you to buy a game and then pay again to use part of it
That's the standard issue argument from the anti-LIVE community. Naturally I think we would all prefer to have the multiplayer for free, but LIVE wouldn't be as good of a service as it is today if it were offered for free. I like steam. I bought Defcon, Uplink and a bunch of other games through steam. It's a different kind of service, though.
As I mentioned in my comment, what you're getting when you pay for live is a base level of features that developers otherwise wouldn't have given you like integrated voice chat, friend invites, etc...etc... Or in any case if they HAD given you those features they would work DIFFERENTLY with every single game and probably require you to create new accounts for every single one.
I've spent a lot of hours fiddling with server lists and 3rd party community apps on the PC (like steam, which I suppose is a 1st party app if you're playing a Valve game), and I find live to be a cleaner, faster experience. It's worth the 4 dollars a month I pay for it. Several million people agree with me.