Microsoft has signed an agreement with Level 3 Communications which will see the worldwide networking firm’s facilities used to provide multiple broadband infrastructure services for Xbox Live in North America and Europe. Level 3 will provide centre colocation, CrossRoads Internet access and Packet MPLS Private Network services, or MPN, for Xbox Live, making Level 3 one of Microsoft’s biggest partners in the provision of the Xbox’s vaunted online gaming service.
Level 3 has collocation facilities in 57 US markets and nine European markets according to its most recent releases, with local and long haul networks connecting them together, which is certain to give Xbox Live a huge online presence across its two primary playgrounds.
Xbox Live will be launching in North America, Europe and Japan this winter, beginning with a consumer beta program in North America. Five games are to be made available to US (and potentially European) consumers from the start, headed up by NFL Fever 2003 from Microsoft Game Studios, and including Infogrames’ highly anticipated Unreal Championship, Microsoft’s MechAssault and Whacked! Games and Sega’s NFL 2K3 by the end of the year.
Microsoft’s Xbox Platform General Manager J Allard said that Microsoft chose Level 3 because its network infrastructure gives us the premium performance, scalability and flexibility we need to provide Xbox Live gamers in North America and Europe with the most intense and robust online gaming experience in the world, while Level 3’s CTO Jack Waters described Xbox itself as an extremely powerful and innovative video game system, adding that we look forward to help bring the many innovative Xbox games to an online environment where gamers in many different countries can enjoy their experiences together at the same time.