Monday, February 18, 2008

Microsoft Building New Xbox Live; Could It Be A Virtual World?

Microsoft has posted a job listing to build a team to relaunch its popular Xbox Live service: "Join the server-backed games team, part of the Xbox Live team that's responsible for creating a completely new way for mainstream audiences to enjoy the Xbox and Live," says the ad for a games producer. "We're building the games, the console interface and logic, and the server support for a totally new LIVE experience. Both the games and the dashboard experience will be deeply paired with dynamic server support to create a compelling, fresh scenario each time." With Sony's Home getting ready to launch as the Live alternative, is there a possibility that Microsoft will want to go 3D? It's certainly worth speculating about. At Virtual Worlds Fall, Daniel Schiappa, Microsot's General Manager for the Strategy Entertainment and Devices Division, said that "You probably see Microsoft and think 'What? they’re not deeply involved in virtual worlds. We’re thinking about the space heavily and have been involved in a gaming aspect for quite some time. We see a wide variety of demographics in the space. [...] But hopefully next year you’ll know why I’m here." He later hinted that if the company launched a virtual world it would be within the year or not at all and would span PC, mobile, and console interfaces. However, analysts are predicting the next-generation Xbox for 2010. That's not official word from Microsoft, but a radically new interface for a console already peaking in its life cycle does seem a little iffy. The team's building something, though. From VWN.

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