Xbox online announcement at E3

No surprises there then

The latest installment in Microsoft's "State of the Xbox" column covers online gaming, a subject that the company has been keeping remarkably quiet about to date. A full announcement can be expected at the E3 trade show next month, but in the meantime Xbox executive producer Jeff Henshaw and online gaming bigwig Marc Whitten are insisting that playing on your Xbox with people from around the world will be as simple as putting the disc in the drive and powering up. "We could transplant the PC experience over .. to Xbox - but that doesn't make it right. There is a lot that's complicated and confusing, that requires specific and detailed knowledge by the gamer and a ton of work by every game developer to get connected, find people, and play", according to Marc. "It's as alien to the Xbox experience as installing a new set of video drivers to play the latest game would be. So we think about online as the virtual couch - playing an Xbox online should be as natural and easy as popping in the latest greatest game and closing the tray." Expect more details on exactly how this will work, how much you'll have to pay Microsoft to use your Xbox online, and what games will actually support the service at E3. In the meantime, you can read the column over on the Xbox website. It's almost worth it just for the line about the crowds of gamers checking out the latest hot Xbox games in European and Japanese stores...

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