Xbox Live enables all gamers to find their friends easily; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online.
Xbox Live Availability:
Xbox Live launched in North America on Nov. 15 for the Xbox video game system. Xbox Live recently began a consumer beta program in Japan and Europe, with plans for full rollouts early 2003 - Japan is scheduled for January 16 and Europe March 14.
Xbox Live Requirements:
To play Xbox Live, gamers need an Xbox, an online-enabled game (available at retail); a broadband connection (available from any broadband service provider); and the Xbox Live Starter Kit. The Starter Kit includes a year's subscription to Xbox Live, a Xbox Communicator headset that plugs into the Xbox controller and facilitates all voice communication with other players, and two pack-in online trial versions of THQ's "MotoGP" and "Whacked!" from Microsoft Game Studios.
Xbox Live Portfolio:
Xbox Live will support up to14 Xbox Live-enabled games by holiday, including: "Unreal Championship" from Infogrames Inc.; "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon" and "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" from Ubi Soft Entertainment; SEGA SportsTM "NFL 2K3," SEGA SportsTM "NBA 2K3" and SEGA SportsTM "NHL® 2K3" SEGA SportsTM "NCAA® Basketball 2K3" and "ToeJam and EarlTM III: Mission to Earth" from Sega®; "MotoGP" and "MX Superfly Featuring Ricky Carmichael" from THQ; "Capcom® vs. SNK 2: EO" from Capcom®; "Whacked!TM," "MechAssaultTM" and "NFL Fever 2003" from Microsoft Game Studios.
Other upcoming Xbox Live titles include "Shaun Palmer's Pro SnowboarderTM 2" from Activision, Inc.; "Tom Clancy's Rainbow SixTM RavenShieldTM" and "XIII" from Ubi Soft® Entertainment; "Phantasy StarTM Online" from SEGA® of America, Inc.; "Counter-Strike," "Midtown Madness® 3," "Halo 2," "Project Gotham Racing 2" from Microsoft Game Studios and "Star Wars® Galaxies: Empire DividedTM" from LucasArts Entertainment Company.
Worldwide, Xbox has 60 companies committed to developing more than 50 Xbox Live games by the end of next year. Xbox Live has incredible support from our partners around the world. In Japan, 40 publishers are planning to bring 47 Xbox Live titles to market.
Xbox Live Service:
With its service approach, Xbox Live delivers the most seamless, easy-to-use and consistent online gaming environment for gamers, developers and publishers alike.
It was designed by gamers for gamers and includes features such as delivery of real-time scores and statistics so gamers can compare themselves to the best players in the world; quick and easy game launches; fast downloads; the ability to find friends online across games with only one click; and the ability to maintain a single identity across all games with a single password.
Microsoft built four data centers — in Seattle and Tukwila, Wash., Tokyo and London — in order to run a scalable, secure and gamer-friendly service. Xbox will assist publishers by managing the hosting, networking, security and billing so that game creators can focus on creating awesome game content.
Xbox Live Key Features:
Gamertag - Players have a single identity across the entire global gaming service. Similar to one's "handle," gamertags are one's call sign or alias. Players only get one gamertag per account, so their reputation's on the line.
Friends list - Using the Gamertag's, players will be able to find their friends online and invite them to a game, no matter which Xbox Live game they're playing.
Xbox Communicator - Voice communication is required to ship with all Xbox Live multiplayer games, enabling teammates and opponents to speak to one another during games. Key elements of this feature exclusive to Xbox include voice masking, global muting and parental control.
Matchmaking - QuickMatch allows players to enter a multiplay experience with a single button click, and with OptiMatch, an Xbox Live exclusive, players will be able to select games and opponents based on similar skill levels.
Ability to download content to the Xbox hard disk - Only Xbox enables console players to download and permanently store both free and fee-based content that can include new levels, characters, missions and statistics.
Xbox Live Pricing:
In the United States, the Starter Kit will be available for $49.95. For the estimated retail price of a single game, gamers receive a year's subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox Communicator headset that plugs into the Xbox controller and facilitates all voice communication with other players, and two pack-in online trial versions of THQ's "MotoGP" and "Whacked!" from Microsoft Game Studios.
In Japan, the retail asking price of the Starter Kit is 6,800 yen, comparable to the price of one game title. The Starter Kit includes a year's subscription to the service, an Xbox Communicator headset, Phantasy Star Online and some pack-in games.
Pricing and specific offers in Europe will be announced locally at a later date.