Liveblogging the Microsoft Blogger Breakfast

Sitting at the breakfast table with Chris Satchell, Aaron Greenberg and John Schappert (as well as a bunch of bloggers), to talk about everything Xbox 360.

Hit the jump to follow along and make sure to ask questions in comments.

Satchell is talking about the XNA Arcade. The question is how will games get to Live.

Who decides that it goes to the public Live?

Once it goes into review it goes into escrow, when enough people agree to the ratings that's when it gets pushed through to Live.

Will it just be for E rated games?

Actually the games will be unrated so if you enable parental settings you won't be able to see them, that's the responsible thing to do. We are talking with the rating boards around the world to ask for their suggestions. They won't be doing the ratings, but they do have a lot of experience.

In terms of payment will creators be able to set a price?

Right now we are not discussing the business model. We have a beta in Spring. Once we see the usage we will see how that can work.

Will all members be able to download the games on Live?


How will it be displayed on Live?

There will be a twist at the top. We will also provide you with a rich environment where you can do searches.

Do you plan on increasing the file size?

We really want to listen to the community. So as people start submitting in the beta, are we constraining things with that file size. That's our stake in the ground.

What are your expectations, do you expect indie developers to use it or the unknowns?

I hope it's both, we get established creators. I also hope we discover great ideas out there. There are great ideas out there in the community and if the only way to find those is to go through the ten years of study.

When we see students from computer science or game students out there, it will be really cool if big companies can see your reputation before you leave.

Greenberg: You also can't underestimate that community. We have 10 million active Live users.

Satchell: Aaron makes a good point, it is a very active community.

Why can't the 360 create Unreal Tournament mods?

Satchell: I can't comment on what Sony is doing. How are they protecting gamers from obscene content, infringing content and harmful content. What stops mods from harming your system? XNA is very secure.

Maybe they don't care about security as much as we do.

Is there a worry that if this channel does well, that some Live sales will be hurt?

Schappert: I think that could be a worry, but I think that empowering gamers... is a good thing. A lot of people could have said the same when they launched Xbox Live Arcade.

How will XNA games work on the Zune?

This year you will be able to download XNA Game studio and get your Zune and do game development on there like you can with Live.

We want to get that step done first.

I think it's really about giving people who use XNA Studios the widest platform.

Will you be restricting content by region at all?

That's something we are looking very hard at. I thought at the moment is that what you will need to do is have your game and submit it in different regions. If you get multiple region reviewed to have it available there. Conceptionally yes.

Where there be a way to design iteratively?

People will sometimes put up the source code, the game and the art and someone else will improve it.

The reviewers can give you feedback.

Who will retain those rights?

The creators will retain those rights when submitting those games.

What if creators want to create a new form of Desert Strike? Will EA get annoyed?

One of those things is the IP check, you can do parodies and inspirations of other work but if you rip off the graphics of a game it probably won't make it through the pipeline.

Will we see more Live games experiences crossing over to major triple-A titles like what was announced with Fable 2?

We keep pushing the boundaries of Live. You are seeing a natural progression of those things. If it works well in Fable. Personally I want to get my wife addicted to the mini-games and she can make all of the gold and then I can spend it in Fable 2.

You get a lot of professional game developers that are in big teams and they have a cool idea. I have a great idea and build this and be this auteur for once.

Will web publishers be able to access the stats from their game, like the number of downloads?

I'd love to make them public APIs so you could use them, that would be cool. It's not in the plan yet, but it's something we are talking about.

What's up with the Xbox 360 hardware shortages?

Schappert: This was news to me too. When we realise that we might have shortages around Christmas and we push that start button the first product doesn't show up till March. It's a complex system.

Larry Hryb implied that the Live outages were caused by the increase in users, what happened?

Schappert: Larry's podcast was spot on, the take away is right before Christmas we saw users grow exponentially and our servers were having trouble meeting that demand. We had people working well over the holidays. We are in good shape now. The hours before the Super Bowl we had 1 million concurrent users after the Super Bowl started it went down. It was the game before the game.

Anyway to add achievements to XNA community games?

There's no way to add achievements to XNA community games. How long do you think it would be until we had a game that was a "press this button to get 1,000 points?"

(From a blogger): We already have that it's called Avatar.

When will we have a blu-ray player for the 360?

We are not talking about a blu-ray player. People are buying our system to play games.

What happens to the movies that disappear?

It's not related to storage it's related to license windows.

How long until we start to see IPTV?

It depends on when a provider want to offer that service.

Would you rather see developers working on triple-A titles or on episodic content?

We would like to see both, look at Rock Band. We pioneered downloadable content with Xbox Live and I think people are clambering for it. We are going to have the best box retail games and the best downloadable content.

Will the 360 support Emotiv?

If there was enough of a demand for it, yes, in theory.

What about restoring DRM right for content downloads for repaired or replaced machines?

That's something we are still working through, that's something very top of mind. We are working on that yes.

In the interim what we are doing is giving points to those folks who bought those games and can't download them, so they can redownload those titles. We realise it is unacceptable.

Any thought of using non-proprietary harddrives for the 360?

Probably not. We take security much more seriously than maybe our friends down south do.

Do you feel an obligation to bring games that maybe aren't just about entertainment to the community, like games for younger children or education?

I think you will definitely see that from the community. There were some games that almost became finalists for the contest that were educational.

I think educational games, social c ommentary games are going to come. I think that's cool, for a medium of gaming that's super cool. Education is a big deal for us as well. We work

Schappert: I was talking to Cliff about this the other day, how do I break into this. I'm going to point them directly here. Everyone has computers and everyone has the software.

Annnnnd that's the big show.


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