NEWS - Thursday, March 17, 2011

Microsoft Video Shows Future Vision of Gaming

The video, dated May 2010, showcases some of Microsoft’s ambitions for the next-generation of Xbox LIVE and Windows gaming. ZDNet uncovered the video, found at one of Microsoft’s sites. The video originates from Microsoft’s Windows Gaming Experience (WGX) team. The team is responsible for strategizing and delivering the next-generations of Windows and Xbox gaming. "We are at the early stages of defining and architecting and developing excitement around gaming in Windows and the Web. We have a highly visible company-wide charter to promote gaming and empower game developers to create compelling, immersive, rich experiences in Windows and on the Web," says Microsoft.

Microsoft is also currently working on bulding next-generation Xbox interactive TV experiences. The software giant has issued several job postings recently in an effort to recruit for the company’s Entertainment and Devices Division. Microsoft is also currently readying "Orapa", a mash-up of the company’s Mediaroom IPTV services and Microsoft’s Xbox services. "Orapa" will reportedly marry Avatar Kinect and the company’s Ventura music and video services. Microsoft has long been in talks with media companies to produce a TV service for its Xbox console. Microsoft is proposing a "virtual cable operator" which will be delivered over the Internet and charged with a monthly fee. Microsoft has also suggested that cable companies could use the Xbox as a device to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows and interact with their Xbox LIVE friends. Microsoft offers a similar service in the UK where Sky customers can use their Xbox LIVE avatars during sporting events.

Microsoft tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year. The software giant refuses to comment on reports of a TV subscription however. Microsoft is planning to make Orapa available by holiday 2011. If the company’s schedule is accurate then this could pave the way for the much talked about Xbox TV service just in time for Christmas. Microsoft’s vision video shows off how important the Xbox LIVE avatar experience is to the company. Microsoft is currently readying its Avatar Kinect service will will allow Kinect users to interact with each other. Kinect supports facial and even facial expressions that will allow users to talk to each other with their avatars. Microsoft is calling Avatar Kinect a "social experience" that will bring your avatar to life, something that they will clearly want to extend to Windows gaming in the future.

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