Develop 2011: Microsoft highlights cross-platform, social opportunities of 35 million-strong Xbox Live
#developconf From Xbox to PC and Windows Phone
"It's the largest social network on console," explained Ted Woolsey, director, Microsoft Studios, XBLA, in a talk entitled 'Building a socially connected user base across multiple devices'.
"People are enjoying the new services offered by Live, in terms of streaming movies etc, and I think that's what's growing our business," he said.
The average monthly use time per player on Live is currently 60 hours.
Yet with the industry moving heavily towards digital distribution and social gaming, Microsoft is keen to experiment with new business models, and games that will work across PC, Xbox and Windows Mobile.
"People now want the game they play on their phone to matter when they get back home and start playing again their living room," Woolsey argued.
One example of how Microsoft is experimenting was the release of Full House Poker for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone.
It included features such as unified bankroll, stats and game progression, plus an online Texas Heat mode.
The time is now
A similar cross platform, social element is the Xbox Live GamerScore. "We were early into this. The bragging rights for GamerScore are off the charts," he said.
Still, when it comes to making the most of the opportunity, Microsoft is looking to thirdparties.
"We have this incredible infrastructure in Live, and now we need to fit that platform and audience with new game types," Woolsey said, although also pointing out,
"There is still a market for downloadable try-before-you-buy games such as Limbo. It wouldn't have worked as free-to-play game."