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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Behind the magic of Xbox

Behind the magic of Xbox

"The theme of this year’s Allied Telesyn Hi Tech Awards is “Science Fiction or Science Future?”, and celebrates technological innovations that were once considered impossible. A stunning example of a reality that only the most visionary could have foreseen is the first ever global Halo 2 tournament, which took place this June. “King Tuur” of the Netherlands became a world champion, beating 50,000 competitors from 24 countries to take the top prize; but to do so, he never left his house.

Welcome to the world of online gaming, where borders disintegrate and anyone can be a king. Since its launch in November 2004, Halo 2, one of the many games available for Microsoft’s Xbox Live platform, has sold more than 6.7 million copies. Its enthusiasts have spent more than 220 million hours—more than 25,000 years—playing the game.

Microsoft believes that the appeal of Halo 2, and online gaming in general, has a lot to do with its social component. “Playing by yourself is fine, but competing against players from anywhere in the world adds a richness to the experience that was lacking in non-interactive games,” says Sean McBreen, Director of the Developer & Platform Group for Microsoft NZ.

The dynamic community is indeed impressive, with over 60,000 gamers logging on to Halo 2 at any given moment. Once you enter the world of the Master Chief, Halo 2’s cybernetic soldier, you can play against friends or have the computer select opponents according to specific criteria. You can also choose not to play against people you don’t like. Games can be public or private, and Microsoft is looking to add Spectator Mode for the next generation, so people who don’t have the game can log on to watch others play.

Neither King Tuur nor Master Chief are the true heroes of the piece, however. That honour lies with the engineers and creative minds that make the games console, software and the online experience possible - people like NZ’s Mathew Jury and Tom Hunt." [more]

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