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XBLA set to "leapfrog" competition

Thanks to XNA, says Microsoft.

Microsoft exec David Edery has said Xbox Live Arcade is set to "leapfrog" WiiWare and PlayStation Network as users begin to produce their own games for the service.

They'll do that using XNA, a Community Games initiative aimed at both professional and amateur developers. "I certainly think from an innovation perspective it's going to help us leapfrog the competition, effectively until they find a way to duplicate it, assuming they ever do," Edery told GamesIndustry.biz.

"To some extent it will certainly help us have more innovative content than either of them, just by definition. With all this random stuff coming from the community, every once in a while there's going to be a real gem in there that you just couldn't have found otherwise, it wouldn't have found its way on to a console."

XNA is due to go live before the end of the year. Edery reckons it will help identify and create niche audiences, don't you know.

"The example I always like to give is will someone finally make that scuba diving game, where there's really only 15,000 people interested in a hardcore scuba diving simulation, but they really, really want one? And maybe through XNA someone can profitably get one out there," he suggested.

"Today, there's not really a venue for that. I'm not going to green light a hardcore scuba diving game for Xbox Live Arcade today because there are not enough people who are interested in that. But with XNA it's perfectly possible.

"So I'm much more interested in it from a perspective of can it be used to satisfy more people, with more diverse content, than anything else."

Edery also hopes the service will be used by proper games companies to try out new ideas and get feedback. "Who knows, maybe a guy like Will Wright will spin out a game in three weeks, toss it out on XNA and see what happens. This could become a wonderful test bed and you'll start to see super-cool stuff coming from guys who wouldn't really have that opportunity to do that kind of test marketing."

For more from Edery - including whether we can expect to see more weekly arrivals on XBLA in future - read the full interview.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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