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Microsoft supports Xbox online

But is still no closer to unveiling its own service

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft has issued an unusual release supporting the use of bridge tools like GameSpy Tunnel and XboxGW, stating that "It's amazing and exciting to see the lengths that gamers will go to in order to take their Xbox games online." Namechecking GameSpy specifically (to avoid embarrassment at the propagation of a Linux-based connection tool no doubt), Microsoft explained that "these efforts showcase the superiority of Xbox because it was built from the ground up to provide people with the next generation of exciting online game play." Remember, to go online with Halo or Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X for Xbox you need a PC with two network adapters, a broadband Internet connection and an Xbox console, with either a crossover cable to connect PC to Xbox or a full-blown hub. That's rather a lot of equipment. "We think the GameSpy efforts are an interesting science experiment by and for hard core gamers," the statement continues, before acknowledging that the system doesn't really scale for more than two players (because the average amount of bandwidth required is about 256Kbps each way, and that's most people's upstream taken care of in one fell swoop. Microsoft's online service will be more involved, the company tells us. "In order to engage several players, voice, content download, and online support with no PC required, gamers will have to wait for the Xbox online service. And it will be worth it." "Right out of the box, Xbox online will be an always-on, fast-action gaming service that provides multiplayer and episodic gaming, and tournaments that appeal to all types of game players." So it looks like Microsoft are happy to support alternative methods of Internet play in lieu of its own service' arrival, which may not be until sometime in the summer of next year. The public's perception of Xbox as a 'connected' console this early on is clearly very important to Uncle Bill and his chums at Redmond. Microsoft have yet to comment on the various upgrade stories doing the rounds, or those websites ripping the console apart for photo opportunities. Related Feature - Xbox ripped to shreds

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