We're all guilty of it: wasting time playing hand after hand of Solitaire or spending hours dodging mines in Minesweeper. Microsoft understands this completely, and plans to offer rewards for playing these built-in games with the launch of Windows 8 on desktops and the Surface tablet in October.
Classic Windows freebie titles Minesweeper, Solitaire Collection and Mahjong will be three of the first games to fall under Microsoft's new Xbox Windows banner. Originally spotted on Xbox 360 Achievements, this new gaming line will be completely separate from Microsoft's other gaming service, Games for Windows Live.
For Solitaire Collection, Windows 8 users will be awarded 40 points for three achievements: Well Played (win your first match -- 10), First One's Free (flip over your first card -- 10), and Jack of All Trades (play at least 1 game of Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks, and Pyramid -- 20). Minesweeper will offer 50 points stretched across 4 achievements, and Mahjong will offer 25 points generated from 3 achievements.
Slated for an October 26 launch, Windows 8 will come packed with full Xbox Live integration. This service will offer access to the Games Marketplace, the user's Xbox profile, Achievements list, Avatar creation and more. Microsoft said it will also continue supporting Games for Windows Live which serves as a multiplayer platform for supporting PC games.
But as The Examiner points out, Microsoft has recently come under fire by the likes of Valve, Blizzard and Mojang who are concerned that the Redmond company is creating a "walled garden" spanning PC, console, smartphone and tablet form factors with the Windows 8 platform. There's a fear that games will eventually be forced through the Windows Store rather than allow consumers to purchase titles on Steam, Origin and other external sources.
What will be interesting to see is how Xbox Live, Games for Windows Live, and Xbox Windows will be tied together in Windows 8. For Windows-based gamers, the landscape is already looking a little confusing -- and that's before having to deal with a whole new blocky UI.
To see a whole batch of screenshots stemming from the three upcoming Xbox Windows games, head here.