A Gateway for Game Innovators

Microsoft's games evangelist J. Allard says Xbox 360 Live could be the answer for innovative small developers seeking a way to market.

Speaking to UK online site CVG, he said, "If you're a crazy new developer with a risky idea, how do they get it out in a world of 10 million dollar production budgets in a risk adverse industry? Our answer: Live Arcade - make a level, put it up there and see what happens, maybe you'll get signed to a publisher after that to make a million dollar version of it at retail and dole it out month over month. It's good for innovation."

Allard stressed the importance of Live to Microsoft's strategy in the console market, "Maintaining the lead in online is critical, it's one of the biggest drivers of growth and innovation."

Journalism and games

He added, "I was reading Newsweek the other day and the big story was blogging, and what the Internet could do for journalism. Nothing more dramatic has happened to the world of journalism than the Internet. The same thing is going to happen in gaming.

"How's it going to change for the people who are writing for the game creators? Well the press has had to invite consumers in, so that readers have become participants. That's what's going to happen here. The experiences I have as a gamer, much as I do on my PC now, is being surrounded by my friends. I always want to be connected and that's going to be really important.

"A lot of people thought we were crazy four years ago, when we said we're betting on broadband online, it's going to be a big differentiator. Now we have hundreds of thousands of very satisfied customers. We exceeded that with two million or ten per cent. For the next generation we're aiming at 10 million, we're aiming at fifty per cent, we're thinking bigger numbers and more connectivity and it's going to be very important for the medium. Fundamental as going to 3D was, for innovation and for growing the industry, I think online is going to have an even bigger impact."

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