XBOX Live Executive Chat

XBOX Live Executive Chat

by October 17, 2002

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XBox Live Executive Chat

Here’s the transcript from the chat session with Xbox Live Executive Producer Jeff Henshaw from October 15th.

October 15th, 2002
Chat Topic: Xbox Live Beta Program
Guest Host: Jeff Henshaw

Host Guest_Jeff_Henshaw says:

Q: are games P2P or MS-server hosted?
A: BOTH! It totally depends upon the game. Some, like the ones you’re playing during beta, are P2P. MotoGP is an example of a great P2P game. Awesome with 16 players, BTW. Go MPG! Others, like UT, will be hosted.

Q: Games for launch?
A: – MotorGP, Wacked!, UC, Ghost, NFL Fever 03, NFL 2k3, NBA 2K3, NHL 2K3, followed soon by Mech – Tons more after that. ARE YOU READY?

Q: How many people can play at one time?
A: Currently, games support up to 16, but that’s not a hard limit. Later games will do more (in the 1,000’s)

Q: Cost of Live after year 1?
A: TBD – will depend a lot on new services, # of subscribers, what games want to do, etc. It will be worth every penny, no matter what!

Q: UC 16x at launch?
A: Hell yes, baby!

Q from off-line: Will headsets sell separately?
A: Initially only subscriber bundles, but once launch demand is satisfied we will look at this again……

Q: do you love your beta testers?
A: Yes, I love whooping up on them at MotoGP.

Q: plan for revolt post launch?
A: TBD. its pretty fun already, but current plan is just for beta purposes. if enough demand (let us know!) we might let it live on for awhile.

Q: WTH (what the Heck) is the connectivity tester?
A: It’s a stress tester for the connectivity between you and the service, and you and other gamers. It creates tons of sessions, makes thousands of matches, etc. Hammers the connection to make sure it’s robust.

Q: What’s new for beta testers b4 launch?
A: Nothing planned beyond MGP & Whacked!, but your screenname of SplinterCell friggin’ rocks.

Q: How much would a new weapon or map or spell or tip or unock or level or cheat or tattoo or clothes or other such thing cost in games?
A: TOTALLY depends upon a game. From $0.01, to $1,000,000.00, I’d expect. Dr. Evil will love this.

Q: Will lag suck on Xbox Live?
A: In general, no. We went with broadband, and we engineered a dedicated service, specifically to make it work great. The lag you see as a tester should get better between now and launch as we tweak and tune. This is why we didn’t use 56K. It’s like sucking pizza through a straw. Much depends upon your provider, but we are working our a$$es off to make sure we’re tight with as many providers as possible.

Q: Will AOL work?
A: We’re working hard with AOL on it. I can’t promise timeframes, but I can promise that we’ll continue to work hard on the problem with AOL.

Q: Extra gamertags?
A: One per subscription. This is YOU. The real deal. Your reputation. Your play. Your identity. Make it count and keep it real.

Q: keyboard/mouse for Live?
A: Will be driven by game demand and your demand for those games. Keyboards would be more likely in my mind; mice really change the dynamic of the title.

Q: textchat and or web browsing / email on Xbox Live? A: voice rules for chat. it is the Xbox way. Web browsing and email are both great things…on a PC. Use a PC for them…it works great. TV res (NTSC) isn’t great for browsing, and this email thing is cool but it really sucks as a game. “Dude what level did you unlock in E-mail?!”

Q: When does UC hit streets?
A: launch, baby! see you on day 1.

A: Great titles. Innovative worlds, great social dynamics, we love them. Galaxies is a great example…and is just the start. True Fantasy Live online is another great example. This will be a rich category on Live.

Q: Im sure you have heard that xbox has already been taken apart and hacked into, are you afraid this will happen to xbox live?
A: We watch the hacking scene to make sure we protect our partners in the game dev/publishing space. We want your Xbox, hard drive, online Live connection, to also be secure. So we work with lots of partners to keep on top of it…tough job but we’re diligent!

Q: e-mails and surveys…why do they get so mixed up during this beta?
A: We’re too busy playing UC deathmatch. Give us a friggin’ break. 🙂

Q: DIVERGENCE ERRORS IN BETA: Will this be patched by SEGA??
A: This is why we have a beta program; we make sure this gets fixed as we roll the service out.

Q: will there be administration tools for the games, boot, ban?
A: depends upon the game itself. It’ll be game controls, for stuff like booting (see MotoGP, or your friends list!), but “administration tools” is kind of an icky term, no?

A: Friends lists currently have a 100-friend limit. Mine is full!

Q: Jeff, you said UC is “hosted” – meaning p2p or MS server?
A: Both. We’ll host a bunch, but our hope is that so many people see how amazing the game is, that they just take over by hosting more games of UC that we can even count.

A: Yes, lots o’ games will games will support roster updates, and even league standings, etc. That’s why Live and a hard drive are so cool. Sports games reflect the real world when you want them to.

Q: What if you load your live account on someone elses xbox, can you download onto multiple xboxes?
A: Paid-for downloads are tied to an Xbox…to be careful. It’s the only way to really keep track of what’s been paid for versus not. You pay for a d/l to a box, not to a gamer account. Free downloads can be done to any box, over and over. Free love. It’s beautiful.

Q: Will there be games that require an extra fee?
A: Up to game publishers; in general most titles will be covered by your base Live subscription, but we’re being open to the possibility that a killer massively online title may want to do special things and charge for them.

Q: Will xbox live be adding some sort of clan management…?
A: We’re going to build this up over time. Communities (clans, tribes, teams, leagues) are all very key aspects of Live, and gamers are doing this already even during beta. We’ll add more to it over time. More features for more types of communities will come online every month.

Q: [from offline earlier] Are you going to do more stuff with music? Visualizations, karaoke, better EQ stuff, etc?
A: Hell yes. I won’t get specific, but I can say we have some big stuff cookin’. Will come sooner rather than later. Stay tuned.

Q: How many people are signed up?
A: We’re at over 10K already, and adding thousands more leading into launch. Many stressing the system, plus a huge test team banging on it. Plus “real live Live games” already being played. We’re super proud of how the system is holding up. Xbox Live: More Fresh Meat Daily.

Q: c’mon, take a hard question: what’s MS’ XBL relationship like with EA – particularly in regards to Battlefield 1942? Will it make XBL?
A: [okay, okay. don’t ever say i’m not open and honest] EA is one of Xbox’s BEST publishers. We have an Extremely Awesome relationship with them. They’ve shipped tons of titles that rock. We’re in discussions with EA about Live. We are totally stoked about 1942; I can’t wait to play it.

A: We’re going to be constantly adding to live. Voice chat rooms are a great idea!

Q: If I pay for a download, but have to have my drive wiped in repair, do I have to pay again?
A: No. We’ll track it in repair so that the box is still flagged as having paid, so you won’t have to re-pay!

Q: I’m on beta but didn’t get my orange MU. What gives?
A: The limited edition orange MUs were only for the first wave of beta participants. They tolerated more in helping us with the early service that we care to admit. 🙂 So the orange MUs are special. Hang onto them if you have them. eBay fodder for next year!

Q: Jeff If You dare! Put your honesty on the line here, Will we really have to wait for halo 2 to play Halo on XBL?

Host Guest_Jeff_Henshaw says:

A: I want to thank everyone for attending the chat tonight. This has been an AWESOME treat for me. It’s been great interacting with ya’ll. We’ll do these way way more often. Keep your eyes on for a schedule on the next one. Take care, everyone! -Jeff

Host Guide_KenM says:

Thanks for joining us today and thanks for the questions. It’s time for us to go now. Thank you all very much for joining.