Microsoft to Launch Universal Gaming Portal in 2012 [Updated]

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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 brand has proven a strong competitor in the videogames market despite facing great competition. Now it seems that the platform holder is getting ready to utilise this success to leverage its products in other markets, with a universal gaming portal expected to rival OnLive upon its launch in 2012.

Designed to incorporate the industry-leading online videogames platform Xbox LIVE into all of Microsoft’s devices and software – including Windows Phone 7 and the forthcoming Windows 8 OS (tentative title) – the portal would allow videogames to be delivered across all formats in unison. Microsoft Studios has already seen minor success with regards to these types of application thanks to the likes of Full House Poker, an Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows Phone 7 title that has proven to be a fertile testing ground, though things may be taken much further in the coming year.

Microsoft Studios intends to launch Xbox 360 games across all formats, allowing players to purchase the game once and continue playing on any device. This functionality was revealed prior to the launch of Windows Phone 7 with a handful of simple Xbox LIVE Arcade style games, however now it seems that Microsoft Studios intend to take things even further. Having recently announced cloud storage for Xbox 360 gamers, it seems likely that Microsoft Studios will make available a game streaming service, allowing Xbox 360 games to be played on console, smartphone, tablet or PC.

Microsoft Studios is promising a greater diversity in videogame software as developers are given a greater amount of options for the delivery of their products. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) recently announced a similar programme, PlayStation Certified, however this project is limited to mobile and tablet platforms, and initially SCE owned devices only. Should Microsoft’s plans for an ambiguous series of gaming devices come to fruition, it’s likely that SCE would have to rethink it’s strategy both with the PlayStation Certified programme and the independent development of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita software. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on Microsoft’s universal gaming portal, and other aspects of the Xbox brand.

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A Microsoft Spokesperson has contacted Electronic Theatre following the publication of this article to offer an official statement: “Microsoft is currently focused on developing Xbox LIVE services across console, PC and Windows Phone devices. We have no further news to announce at this time.”

Though the comment is intended to address the news of an overarching streaming service for all three platforms directly, the statement is further in support of the argument for a unified delivery of the Xbox LIVE service. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with any further developments on this story, and the future of the Xbox LIVE service.

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