Microsoft: Xbox Live Is Like An MMO

Illustration for article titled Microsoft: Xbox Live Is Like An MMO

Given Microsoft's demonstration of Avatars gathering in a shared virtual movie theater at E3, it seemed that Xbox Live could be going in a PlayStation Home direction. Not quite, we were told.


Microsoft's head of long-term planning for Xbox 360, Shane Kim, brushed off Kotaku's suggestion that the numerous expansions to the company's Avatar system might eventually lead the company to creating — or even just finding themselves in — a Home-like shared space.

If Avatars can show up in chat parties together, appear in games, populate a virtual game show like 1 Vs 100 or have different outfits, are they not moving toward that territory of the PS3's virtual world, Home?

Kim said he uses a different metaphor: "I think that Live is an MMO, but that doesn't mean you have to create a virtual world. I think that's the big difference between our approach and Sony's approach. An MMO is a living, breathing, dynamic thing where you can find people online and entertainment you can connect with... I think that metaphor applies to the platform. That's the way we think about it when we try to program new content and experiences into it...

"Who knows, maybe someday personalizing a space might be part of it, but that's not the same as creating a virtual a world that's the main way you interact with other people."

Xbox Live as an MMO? The idea sounds odd at first, but the more we think about it here at Kotaku Tower, the more we see some merit to it.


Vin St. John

Xbox Live is an MMO because it basically applies "meta-game" aspects to all games you play on Xbox. It gives you a gamerscore/achievements, information about who's playing what, and the ability to form parties, chat, and view leaderboards. In this way the system that these games sit inside can tend to become a game in and of itself. Most of the features of Xbox-live aren't game-like (though Achievements/Gamerscore clearly are) but they fulfill the other requirements of an MMO - they're social networking features, they're persistent presence features, they're the kind of thing you'll turn on your console for every day just to see what's new.