I have my copy of Halo 2 for Vista, and immediately upon inserting the disc in the drive Microsoft's master plan for PC gaming becomes clear.
First up, there's Live. Halo 2 comes with a free 1 month Gold trial of the Live service that XBox users are already familiar with. This means you can access Live through your PC, and (I assume) play Halo 2 against Xbox or 360 owners.
You get the full Live experience - and by that I mean that Achievements, previously an XBox specific feature, are fully available for the Vista release of Halo 2. You can rack up your 1000 points for the game via its PC release. I haven't had a chance to test it yet but it looks like Live is fully interoperable between the XBox and the PC, letting you use the same account et cetera.
More impressive still is the option that appears as soon as you jam the Halo 2 disc into your drive: "Play Halo 2". That's right - not "Install Halo 2" - just "Play". Apparently it installs in the background while you start playing.
Sneaky old Microsoft - while they've been busy making consoles look more like PCs, they've also been putting in the work to make PCs look more like consoles. I'm impressed, and hopeful for what this kind of approach will mean for future PC releases.