Is Microsoft Working on Universal Vid Cap for Xbox 360 Games?S

In a meeting last week with a game developer at the Tokyo Game Show, I asked them if they were planning on trying to incorporate in-game video capture into their title. The type you see in Halo 3.

The answer was interesting and, I believe, accidental.

"We'd love to have video capture in our game, but why work on something that the platform holder is already developing," said the developer, who I'm keeping anonymous to cover for his accidental slip-up.

The idea of a universal, platform-level video capture system for games seems like a good idea, and one that fits in nicely with the plans that Microsoft has for the Xbox 360.

When I had a chance to sit down with Microsoft's Scott Austin, director of digital games at Live, I asked him about the concept.

Microsoft, I noted, has made it a point to try and drive innovation on their consoles with software. They were the first gaming console to fully, successfully embrace online play when they introduced the Live service on their original Xbox. When the Xbox 360 hit, the software company unveiled Achievements, something that has approached becoming almost a norm among online gaming now.

Could the ability to capture and share videos from games be the next big software development for the Xbox 360?

"We are always thinking about ways that Live at the platform level can make games better," Austin said. "I'm not going to comment on video capture, but you can assume we are thinking about ways to make things more interactive.

"Interactivity used to mean things like multiplayer, now you see more cooperative things in games."

Austin points to the in-game leaderboards of Xbox Live title Shadow Complex and the meta game incorporated in Battlefield 1943 that had all players working to unlock a new map. (The same communal unlock was in the PS3 version of the game as well.)

Communal videos then, I pointed out, seem to be a step in the right direction. And I've heard rumblings of it coming to other top games, like Dead Rising 2.

Austin was coy in his reply.

"We want to have better quality and more immersive experiences," he said. "We are always looking to innovate.

"When innovation becomes table stakes we want to move forward. We want to make all entertainment services more rich with our live services."

So is that a yes or a no?