OK, so every week, Valve posts a Deal of the Week through their free software delivery service, Steam. If you haven't ever installed Steam, let me just say that it is as much better than XBL, as XBL is better than PSN. But like PSN, it is free. To provide two specific examples of how wonderful it is, friends lists have no limit, and are organizable, and for their games, they provide regular official free updates of company and community created content and features. Also, when you buy a game through Steam, it is yours for life, on any computer, and often, you can even transfer it to a friend should you get "multiple copies" of it through a bundle deal. Or course, should one ever get the bug to do a little creating on their own, the SDKs are also included. Pick your game and build, build, build.
About a month ago, I watched Team Fortress 2 go on sale for $10.00, that's a sawbuck, Ladies and Gentlemen. For it, there are already many officially supported maps that are not included in the Orange Box 360 Edition, but are immediately free to Steam members (remember, membership is also free - something that will undoubtedly seem particularly magnanimous when I have to pay next year's XBL subscriptions for FOUR gamers!)
Anyway, this week's special is the "Oddworld" games. They are selling for $2.50 a piece. Instantly obtainable, and as good as anything being offered on the XBLA marketplace.
I tell you, with the RRoD, the XBL subscription fee ($200/year for this household), the region-coded discs (that prevents me from participating in any of the many game hobbyist economic recovery programs, that is, tradeing or pawning), and most recently, the region filtering (still can't download the Flashback map pack), switching to PC is looking better than it ever has.
I am not saying I will, at least not any time soon, but I am saying that something I couldn't have imagined a couple of months ago, is something I see now as not only desirable but affordable.
P.S. UT3 is available for $11.99 this weekend. At what point, does the extra money we pay for these games for the 360 platform become more than that platform (with all its convenience) is worth?
UPDATE: Steam and Orange Box run beautifully on Linux (many flavors) via WINE. WOAH. Also, I just downloaded Steam and logged into my old account and have been spectating a lot of TF2 this afternoon. The new maps are incredibly gorgeous, and the gametype, PAYLOAD looks fantastic! It looks like something Gearheads could enjoy. I really wish Valve would get a move on supporting their 360 version. In the meantime, that is just one more hurdle towards leaving Consoles for the next gen.