Epic Games today announced a licensing deal to incorporate GameSpy's multiplayer and community technologies into the Unreal Engine 3 package, making them immediately available to all UE3 licensees. The agreement will bring seamless PS3 and PC online functionality, including matchmaking, leaderboards, instant messaging and secure player profiles and stats.

Several developers have already licensed the integrated GameSpy technology, including Codemasters' Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and Ubisoft's Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway. So it's probably fair to expect these titles to start pioneering PS3 and PC cross-platform gameplay.

While the Xbox 360 versions of Unreal Engine 3 games will still have to adhere to the Xbox Live rules, Epic has openly expressed it is not interested in Microsoft's closed online platform, particularly Games for Windows, which has faced some criticism for forcing users to sign up for a Live Gold account to access online gameplay, something PC gamers are used to getting for free. The Epic - GameSpy approach, on the other hand, will presumably uphold the PlayStation Network's free online gameplay, and therefore could be well worth checking out at the very least.