It's touted as "a visual programming language for kids" in a Seattle Times blog post. Really, Boku is a game, the 360 controller is its input, and you can bet this Microsoft project seeks to tap the enormous enthusiasm for user-generated content seen in games like LittleBigPlanet. No release date has been set for Boku yet, but at Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference this week, project lead Matthew MacLaurin indicated we'll get the chance to play it early next year. Whether that's a beta or full release was not specified.
That screen above is an example of the game's logic structure. Using it and a set of icons, kids (or adults) can build quickly build their own game and learn something about the process of creating a challenge that's fun to solve. If that sounds familiar, so does this caption on the project's page at Microsoft: "Stickboy can't walk but he packs a wallop." It describes a gun turret like object, but still, guys, pick another name.
Still, it's unfair to call this a complete copy of LittleBigPlanet, as it sounds like Microsoft is gunning for a format that's a little more open-ended than designing platform levels (even as deep and infinite as that experience is on LBP.) And Boku was originally demonstrated, without much hype, back in 2007. But I think it's fair to see this, and Microsoft's renewed interest in it, as an answer to a Sony exclusive and an experience no one has on the 360 so far.
Here's a video of Boku in action, to see what it's getting at. It covers top-down mazes, platforms, POV racing, even Frogger-style games.
Microsoft's LBP-Esque Game Construction Tool Boku Headed to Xbox 360? [Gamasutra]
Microsoft Research: Boku [Microsoft]