Microsoft has said that it is "not focused" on competing with Valve's Steam digital distribution and community service for PC.
"We're not focused on how we compete with Steam. We're focused on what kind of value we can deliver to gamers and PC games that make them more desirable," Kevin Unangst, who is Microsoft's senior director of global gaming, told News.com.
Unangst said that GfW Live - the PC version of Xbox Live - presented value through unlockable Achievements, cross-platform connectivity, matchmaking using TrueSkill, and the service's feedback system.
This week Microsoft announced that GfW Live would be going subscription-free, having originally been pitched as a premium service using roughly the same model as Xbox Live.
The company also confirmed that a PC version of Xbox Live Marketplace is being planned, due this autumn.
Despite Microsoft's protestations, that would put GfW Live on a similar trajectory to Steam. Valve's service was built on sales of games like Half-Life 2 and has since amassed a huge range of developer and publisher support, and introduced its own alternative to Xbox 360's popular Achievements system - albeit without Gamerscore.
Unangst apparently believes it's not unassailable, however, telling News.com: "Really our focus is on making the games better, and the publishers will decide for themselves.
"I think what Steam's doing is a good service," he added.