As the Games Developers Conference ups its profile and emerges as a new battleground for consumer attention, Microsoft is again taking the lead role, with the interview with J Allard we posted today,
being backed up with a statement of intent from the Xbox executive.
In a press release leaked somewhat earlier than it?s embargo time, J Allard - now formally titled Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief XNA Architect - heralds a self styled HD era of gaming.
In a typically bullish statement, he said, ?In the HD Era the platform is bigger than the processor. New technology and emerging consumer forces will come together to enable the rock stars of game development to shake up the old establishment and redefine entertainment as we know it.?
Allard also outlined several new features for Xenon, which combined were tagged the next-generation Xbox guide.
Verbatim, these are:
? Gamer Cards. Gamer Cards provide gamers with a quick look at key Xbox Live information. They let players instantly connect with people who have similar skills, interests and lifestyles.
? Marketplace. Browseable by game, by genre, and in a number of other ways, the Marketplace will provide a one-stop shop for consumers to acquire episodic content, new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins and new community-created content.
? Micro-transactions. Breaking down barriers of small-ticket online commerce, micro-transactions will allow developers and the gaming community to charge as little as they like for content they create and publish on Marketplace. Imagine players slapping down $.99 to buy a one-of-a-kind, fully tricked-out racing car to be the envy of their buddies.
? Custom playlists. This feature eliminates the need for developers to support custom music in games. The guide instantly connects players to their music so they can listen to their own tracks while playing all their favourite next-generation Xbox games.
Undoubtedly, the most controversial aspect of this guide has to be the fully-enabled micro-payment system being readied for the launch of the Xenon. Of course, as with all things Xbox, the initial focus will be on the ease of purchase of game content. But as the second iteration of Trojan becomes more widely accepted, SPOnG believes it a certainty that Microsoft will begin to offer more and more non-gaming content, including a full range of music and movies via the revised Xbox Live service.
Allard also promised Xenon will have more than a teraflop of processing power with a multi-core processor offering the platform 'headroom' for expansion.
As to whether J Allard?s keynote speech, scheduled for later on this evening, will offer anything further remains to be seen. Keep it locked.