Microsoft executive Robbie Bach has predicted that half of those who buy an Xbox 360 will sign up for Xbox Live, despite the lack of interest in the online service amongst current Xbox owners.
Speaking to Famitsu magazine, Bach admitted that the number of current-generation console owners who have subscribed to Live stands at just 2 million - around 10 per cent of the installed user base.
But he's confident that offering the free "Silver" version of Xbox Live to 360 will ensure that around 50 per cent of purchasers will take their console online. That doesn't mean they'll be playing online, though - consumers will have to pay for a "Gold" subscription for that privilege.
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.
Bach went on to say he was pleased with the software line-ups for the 360, adding that the European launch list will be announced in the "very near future." He said that the company has a "clear vision" regarding which path to take in the crucial 18 months following the console's launch, and confirmed that there are many third-party titles in development which have yet to be revealed.
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