The newly cancelled 1 vs 100 Xbox Live game show isn't the only clever idea for the Xbox 360 that has met its meteor. Let's review some 360 initiatives that seemed cool but now seem dead.
Re-Invented Music Videos
Back in 2006, Lumines Live was going to mix the wonderful horizontally-oriented Tetris-style game Lumines with music videos. For example, Microsoft and development studio Q Entertainment let us play Lumines with a video of Madonna's song Sorry integrated into the background. The game was released with the promise that other MTV-style music videos would get the Lumines Live treatment. Here is a list of the MTV-style music videos that actually got that Lumines Live treatment: 1) Madonna's Sorry. Short list!
This idea went nowhere. It briefly seemed that Microsoft might have a smart way to make music videos newly relevant to gamers. Instead, I figured out there was trouble when I got a call from one of the people involved with the game asking if I could connect them with any music labels. I may have worked as a reporter for MTV at the time, but, man, if they were approaching me....
A Racing Game For The Entire Xbox Live Community
In 2009, Microsoft declared that upcoming racing game Joy Ride would support Xbox Avatars and be free. The first part of that is still true, but when Joy Ride launches later this year with Kinect support, it will probably cost money - at least the price of a Kinect if, in the best case scenario, it is bundled with the new hands-free controller sensor.
Imagine the potential of a game that's free to all users of a console, one that could allow everyone to play together and compete in some way against the full Xbox Live userbase. Could the free non-Kinect Joy Ride have been the Xbox 360's FarmVille? Today it's not even Sodium, the free game inside the free Home service on the PlayStation 3.
Xbox Live Primetime
Maybe Xbox Primetime still exists. But if it exists, it exists very quietly. Back in 2008 we heard Microsoft crow about the launch of interactive Xbox Live experiences that we would make an appointment to check out.
"The channel is said to also feature 'concepts' in the 'Trivia, Reality TV, Puzzles and Sports' genres with live events and plans to feature real-world and virtual prizes." Imagine, game shows played over Xbox Live. Reality shows aired through Xbox Live. Sports. You would set your calendar and your clock to these events.
The first program was going to be launched in late 2008, was delayed until 2009 and ran two seasons. That was 1 Vs 100, which was canceled today. There is no Primetime channel on the Xbox 360 now, no appointment viewing. There are appointment playdates, scheduled sessions against various developers and gamer community groups. But Primetime is gone.
To Be Fair...
Has Microsoft followed through on anything? Of course! Since the Xbox 360 launched the company re-did its dashboard, added a new channel full of user-made Indie games, created Avatars and Avatar items, was the first to grant on-console access to Netflix, added Twitter, added Facebook, added HD video-streaming and is next adding a version of Internet sports channel ESPN 3.
Microsoft has evolved the Xbox 360 a lot, but if in the course of the last few years you thought you'd be playing more video game versions of music videos, trying more free-to-play racing games and rushing home for some massively multiplayer/multispectator gaming-game-show-sports-reality hybrid, well, you were wrong.
No console does everything. On the Xbox 360 these three innovative tries did not work out.