Future of Xbox Live

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Xbox Live has made a monumental leap in technology and features offered since it was first introduced for the original Xbox. Since then, Microsoft has been working tooth and nail in order to be able to improve the service to not only offer great gaming possibilities, but extend into other forms of media as well, such as Twitter, Netflix and Hulu. Where will this journey of improvement lead to?

The future of Xbox Live is determined by both a vague goal and the major trend or fad going on in the world. It is clear that Microsoft has set a goal for where it wants Xbox Live to go. It is seeking to expand into all forms of media. It has offered support for both Twitter and Facebook, offers Netflix compatibility for those who like to watch movies, and is now pushing the 1 vs. 100 game, which is a game show featuring your Xbox Live avatars.

It has also been noticed that Microsoft will shamelessly expand upon a rival's idea as well. Such as how Nintendo Wii has introduced motion control gaming into the video game industry, and both Sony and Microsoft have introduced motion control devices of their own since then. Yes, Nintendo is not the creator of motion control technology, and yes it has been done before. But this is this first time that it has been brought to main stream gaming, and Microsoft apparently wants a piece of the pie.

It has been speculated that Microsoft would offer video chat over Xbox Live at some point in the future. It has now been confirmed in this passed E3 2010 that it is being implemented. Through Kinect, Microsoft's adaption of a hands-free motion control device, Xbox Live users will be able to chat with their friends as if it were a webcam.

This depicts how Microsoft is aiming to offer more social networking capabilities. Microsoft was the first to implement support for both Twitter and Facebook, then PlayStation 3 followed as well. They want to offer exclusive support for some of the Internets latest fads in order to be able to attract users from their rival's service, the PlayStation Network.

Even so, Microsoft is still, most likely, working on a virtual world of their own. Just as how the PlayStation Network has PlayStation Home, Microsoft is probably working on a similar implementation in order to rival that of PS Home. Maybe not even a virtual world, but a game or program that urges the participation of its users. Microsoft's 1 vs. 100 is a clear attempt at offering a service of this kind. 1 vs. 100 is a game show where Xbox Live avatar's ask questions in order to win prizes. Prizes may range from a Free Xbox Live code, Free Microsoft Points or more.

Digital distribution has to be the clearest thing that they are aiming for. Piracy has been plaguing the video game industry probably since it's creation. It causes developers to potentially lose tens of thousands of dollars due to the wide spread piracy of their products. One efficient way to tackle this issue is by digitally distributing all the video games. This way, the only way to pirate or acquire the game for free would be to either steal someone's hard drive or hack into Microsoft's servers, which would easily land some jail time. One possible exploit of this feature, though, would be the redownload feature. There is nothing stopping someone from letting their friends sign onto their Xbox Live account then redownloading their game onto their hard drive. A way to combat this exploit may be to require gamertag authentication in order to play the game, but that would only increase issues and make the product inconvenient.

These are just some ideas and speculation as to where the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live is headed. A lot of this speculation is seemingly coming true, just by seeing how Microsoft is updating their service. Be sure to keep an eye out for the future of Xbox Live.

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