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Xbox 2 online features exposed?

A Microsoft job ad says more than you'd expect about Xbox 2 online gaming.

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

Xbox 2's online service could feature a spectator system, perhaps called Xbox TV, allowing gamers to watch ongoing matches and view highlight reels, Microsoft announced to the world this week - seemingly by accident.

In a job posting on Microsoft's website, since removed, seeking a software development engineer and testing lead, the software giant described features for a "Xenon Title Server" - Xenon being the codename of choice for Xbox's successor.

Amongst the features the job ad claimed Microsoft wanted to cultivate were "a spectator mode for many Xenon games, Xbox TV - with tickers at the bottom of the screen featuring recent high scores and game highlights, a tournament system, and tradable trophies."

Xbox Live on current hardware already features tournament systems (and clan support) courtesy of the recent Xbox Live 3.0 revisions, but the Xbox TV/spectator options haven't been mentioned before, and fans of certain PC games (most notably Counter-Strike) will attest that when handled correctly, they can be quite interesting.

Microsoft obviously hasn't confirmed any of this - the company still responds to any requests for Xbox 2 comment with the "can't comment on rumours and speculation" line - but the fact that it went up in a job ad on its own website seems pretty convincing, and doubtless embarrassing.

By current estimates, Xbox 2 - or Xenon, Xbox Next, or whatever it winds up being called - will be out sometime in 2006, having been unveiled in early 2005. Current bets point to Bill Gates' keynote address at CES 2005 on January 5th for the unveiling.

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