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Old 15-05-2003, 09:52
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E3 2003: Xbox Live 2.0

Thought this might interest you xbox junkies:

The upcoming enhancements to Xbox Live including Live Alerts, Live Web and Live Now were some of the bigger announcements at Microsoft's press briefing. While the highlights of each were mentioned, we uncovered a few more facts that should help the whole thing make a little more sense.
First off in addition to the new pricing for Xbox Live, gamers will be able to renew their subscriptions by buying a renewal card from a videogame retailer, entering the code from the card into their Xboxes and getting 12 more months of Xbox Live for $49.99. This means you won't have to take a direct hit to your credit card, you know the one you used to sign up for Xbox Live back in the day?

All of the new Xbox Live enhancements will be rolled out bit by bit over the next 12 months. All signs point to August, and the release of NFL Fever 2004, as the target date for XSN Sports. The web service that lets you build, manage and track your own leagues and tournaments won't necessarily launch with the game, but Fever will be the first game to feature the new XSN packaging.

Live Web would be the next feature to launch after XSN. The dedicated site for managing your Xbox Live service and keeping tabs on your stats and your online gaming buddies is the one that will look a lot like an IGN produced site. Even third party publishers will be able design custom Xbox Live Web experiences built around their specific games. There's no definite timetable for the launch of Live Web.

Xbox Live Now will be the last of the three main initiatives to launch. This feature more or less lets you use Xbox Live functionality, like friends lists, invites and downloads, without actually playing an Xbox Live game. This feature will also be backwards compatible with current generation Xbox Live games like MechAssault and Ghost Recon. Even Capcom vs SNK 2 will supposedly work with the new initiatives.

Xbox Live Alerts will arrive at some point to allow gamers to receive notifications in all kinds of ways when Xbox Live has something to tell them and they're not logged onto their consoles. You'll even get messages about special products and promotions in addition to game invitations and tournament news. Live Alerts, XSNand Live Web should all allow you to log in using your gamertag and a password.

There's also the potential for more pay for play Xbox Live games (count on it) and one time charges for downloadable content. These new businesses will apply to third party games as well.

Lastly the price drop to $179.99 could facilitate retailers coming up with more bundles of software, hardware and Xbox Live. While Microsoft isn't starting any formal bundle programs, the drop in price will give retailers the chance to come up the combinations that gamers will really want like Communicators wrapped up with Xbox Live compatible games.

IGN will have more on the changes to Xbox Live in the coming weeks and months as Microsoft continues to make the Xbox the center of some new digital lifestyle.

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