Live quiz show 1 Vs. 100 is beta testing right now in North America and the UK. But when will it be coming to Australia?
1 Vs. 100 is the first game to hit Xbox Live Primetime, Microsoft's new channel dedicated to bringing scheduled games programs to Xbox 360, similar to how you'd watch TV. It's a quiz show involving 101 players simultaneously as well as a live host. Players stand the chance to win real world prizes including Microsoft Points and XBLA games.
It sounds like fun - fun that overseas gamers are having right now, thanks to the ongoing beta test. I asked Xbox Australia marketing manager Jeremy Hinton about the prospects of Primetime and 1 Vs. 100 coming to Australia:
"Primetime is a unique business model for us. The plan was always to test it in Canada and the US to get an understanding of "is this working? How often are people playing? what do people want from the service?" and then to slowly roll it out into other territories over time.
"So, yes, the beta is just beginning in the UK. So as it rolls out in the UK, we'll learn more about the European consumer and whether they're interested in that experience, and from there we'll see how it rolls out into other markets. It's only something we hope to bring to the Australian market but we don't have any specific timings around that."
Hinton says there are significant issues for games like 1 Vs. 100 in Australia. It relies upon a live host, so every single game session needs to be compered by a real person sitting in a studio somewhere hosting the content. It also relies on having enough concurrent users participating on a regular basis.
"It's a problem for a small market like Australia. What 1 Vs. 100 is trying to bring, the idea that you basically set a reminder - like setting your VCR - that at 7:30pm on Thursday night I'm playing 1 Vs. 100, that drives higher levels of concurrent users in the same way we're doing with the Events channel and the community playdates."
So why can't Australians just join game sessions hosted overseas? That would seem the obvious solution, particularly since lag is unlikely to prove as problematic for a trivia game as it does a first-person shooter.
"Unfortunately it does need to be regionalised," says Hinton, "and that's because there are real world prizes. Each country has their own laws with regards to sweepstakes and prize giveaways and things like that."
Hinton forecasts there will be one million Xbox 360s in Australia by Christmas and with an install base of that size the feasibility of Primetime and games like 1 Vs. 100 can only increase.
Hopefully we'll join the beta test soon, the timing of which is out of Xbox Australia's hands - though Hinton does admit they're always putting our hand up.
Are you excited by the prospect of live quiz shows on your 360? Does the incentive of real world prizes make you more interested? And what about this concept of scheduled games programming? Do you pay attention to any of the suggestions on the Events channel right now?