Blog Post

Microsoft Testing Interactive TV Gameshow On Xbox

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is beta testing a multi-player video game version of Endemol’s TV game quiz show format 1 Vs 100 on Xbox Live – a move that could see an innovative new line in TV-style, appointment-to-play events for the console platform…

On TV, 1 Vs 100 in the UK airs during the BBC’s Saturday-night Lotto draws. Microsoft on Friday began testing it via a radical new “Primetime” section of the Xbox dashboard, based entirely around TV-like schedules – games run only from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

In the game, 100 Xbox Live players – through their avatars – face off against each other, a single opponent called The One and three counterparts in a voice chat to score points. High scores can earn virtual players real prizes, ranging from Xbox Arcade downloads to an LCD TV. There’s even a live host giving audible feedback on players’ performance, and players’ voicemails are also fed in to the gameplay for everyone to hear.

Coupled with its group viewing experience for Sky Sports games, Microsoft is getting some genuinely creative ideas about social TV entertainment. I found it compelling and refreshing, though hopefully the final version will zip along more quickly and the voice features will work better.

But there’s one big payoff that Microsoft is trying to get from assembling thousands of players in a live TV community – video advertising. The game routinely breaks for spot commercials (only Microsoft products for now, but that could change).

The test runs until August. Here’s how I fared