Microsoft has announced that its online game playing service – Xbox Live – will be launched on November 15, almost a year after the launch of the Xbox console. Microsoft is hoping that the Xbox’s online playing capability will help distinguish the console from its rivals, the PlayStation 2 and the GameCube.
Microsoft is to sell its Xbox Live starter kit from November 15. The kit is expected to retail at around $50 and will include a headset microphone, a year’s subscription to the service and software that will enable the Xbox to hook up with existing broadband Internet connections.
Microsoft has said that six games will be available for Xbox Live at the time of its launch. These games include the NFL2K3 and NBA2K3 sports titles; Infogrames’ Unreal Tournament and UbiSoft’s Ghost Recon shooting games; Microsoft’s NFL Fever football title; and the jump-and-run game, Whacked. Microsoft has also unveiled ambitious plans to have over 50 titles available for Xbox Live by the end of next year. The company is also hoping to have signed up around 100,000 users in that time.
Microsoft has also said that it plans to spend around $2 billion in the coming years in order to extend the Xbox Live network and develop the successor to the Xbox console.