Xbox Live is an amazing tool for delivering content and fostering community, but could it be a valuable development tool as well? Evolution Research's Owen Davis certainly thinks so. In an article on industry website Next Generation, Davis explores the potential of Xbox Live as a way to present game concepts to a select target audience using Xbox Live data and delivery systems.
Using the Xbox 360 platform it will be possible to target gamers based on behavioural data and distribute alpha and beta game builds to select consoles. Gamers will be able to test these early stage game builds privately in their homes and builds will be rapidly deployed across the network.
He also suggests that the Xbox Live Vision Camera could be used to record experiences much like is already done in one on one and group focus testing, only much more efficiently. It is an interesting concept, surely, and one that could be implemented across all existing platforms. Imagine using data gathered from the Everybody Vote Channel on the Wii to develop a focus group, or tracking PS3 store purchases for a similar purpose? It would be much easier for developers, and of course platform producers would have an entirely new revenue stream to tap into by hosting such services. Sounds like a win all around to me.
The entire article is a fascinating look into the past, present, and one possible future for game concept testing. Hit up the link below, but beware if you are afraid of long words - Owen Davis knows all of them.