I think there will be eloquent defenders of any game that actually had some art and community. I have the same feeling as you that the community will be full of passionate people who probably would... yeah, it's an interesting question, as things get increasingly politicized.
CS: I'm hoping we also see some flat-out
silly fun as well, like JellyCar. I like JellyCar.
So you've said you're not talking about the business model yet?
CS: We're not looking at a business
model at the moment right now. We're focused on that distribution and
building that pipeline to connect the creative community with the online
Xbox Live community. It's not trivial. There's a lot of work that we
need to do. That was the number one request of creators. "I want
somewhere to air my work." We're just focusing on that at the moment.
Could someone launch into a publishing
deal with another publisher via this platform?
CS: They could! I think it's going
to happen. I think you're going to see people that build a great game,
and it gets somewhere and starts getting downloaded and starts getting
on a download list and people love it, and publishers are going to see
it or they're going to shop it to publishers and say, "Hey, look.
I've done the first two levels. I'd love to make this a full Xbox Live
Arcade game, but I need someone to publish it."
And you'll see games that might break through the community to Xbox Live Arcade. You'll see talent get great and spotted on this, and make their way to triple-A games or Xbox Live Arcade games. I think you'll see that, and I encourage that. If this gets more talent and creativity into the industry, I think that's a great thing.
Something I'm curious about is... the goal is that once these games get through peer review, they're going to be playable by anyone, right?
CS: Yeah. Unless you have parental controls enabled.
What about the ESRB?
CS: Well, they can play as well. I couldn't resist.
I don't blame you. But on the Xbox,
as a commercial content delivery system for games, everything has to
go through the ESRB, and I believe
that's a requirement on your end, in the TCRs, as well.
CS: Obviously, the ESRB are not going
to review these games. I don't think that they're set up to review community
content. Having said that, we have an agreement with the ESRB, and they've
given us feedback. We've actually gone around to all the ratings bodies
around the world, showing them what we're doing and getting their feedback.
Like PEGI and CERO?
CS: Exactly. They've been positive. They really like the idea that somebody's taking community content seriously, and is willing to step up and try to do something to think about how a community can manage its content. But they won't be doing any sort of review on the content themselves.
regional and language issues, do you foresee
that these games are going to move around the service, globally? The
beta is restricted to the United States region, so you haven't really
announced what your plans are for the global roll-out of this service.
CS: That's because we're still working on them.
Which is fair enough. But I guess my question is, do you think it's going to be really feasible for people to start getting games cross-region, or are we going to start seeing regionalization?
CS: I think you might see both. I'll take JellyCar as an example. I think JellyCar you could play worldwide, people would enjoy it, and it's going to make sense to everyone. But the other games might be very region-specific. That's really exciting.
It's funny, earlier on, I was talking
to these two guys from Brazil. What they were excited about was, "Oh,
this will be great. You mean that we can build games that we would enjoy
in Brazil?" I was like, "Of course!"
The other fun is where you get creators in other countries who build something and ship it worldwide. You start to see some of the culture. Now, I'm not sure how fun their carnival game will be. They think it's going to be great, and that's cool. I want to see it. So I do think you'll see both.
I think you'll see games
that take into account regional sensibilities, and other games where
they try to have worldwide appeal, because it's like a worldwide playground.