Robbie Bach, the head honcho on the Xbox 360 project at Microsoft, has been speaking to Famitsu
magazine, one of the leading games titles in Japan.
Although only 10% of current Xbox owners are signed up to the Live service, Bach predicts that giving away Silver memberships will get people hooked on online functionality, to the point where 50% of buyers will get online. He didn't mention how many people he expects to stump up the extra cash for the Gold subscription that will enable online play.
He has also been talking about MMOs on the console. This from Eurogamer
"When asked about the potential for massively-multiplayer online gaming on 360, Bach said that it would have been unrealistic to try and get an MMO up and running immediately after a console launch. However, he did promise that a "new MMO" will be available on Xbox 360 within the next three years.
In the meantime, role-playing fans may be pleased to hear that a massive beta test is planned for the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI. According to Bach, it's on such a grand scale that anyone who owns an Xbox 360 will have the option to take part - providing they purchased the console that comes with a hard drive rather than the "Core" system, since a drive is required to run FFXI."
There is undoubtedly a huge market for MMOs amongst console players. They've already proved amazingly popular on the PC, and there's no reason to expect that they couldn't flourish on the console too, especially as more and more homes get broadband. With the uptake of ADSL increasing in the UK, and Cable being so prevalent in the States, the Xbox 360 could mark a real inflection point for the percentage of gamers going online.
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