Microsoft has been developing Primetime, a new service intended to bring large groups of players together in interactive games with a live television feel. The first offering from Primetime will be 1 vs 100 Live, the game show based upon the now canceled NBC game show (which was based upon the original British version). Both were originally supposed to launch with the New Xbox Experience update.
The Xbox Live version is a recreation of the game show, complete with the One and the Mob. This accounts for 101 people, but what about the rest of the gamers participating? They are in the crowd. Luckily, they can play along. If you don’t know the format of the game, you can read about it here.
I was able to check out the Canadian beta last week along with 16,000 other players and I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. Not only has Microsoft created a fun experience, they’ve potentially created the future of game shows (and possibly other types of interactive entertainment).
Let me start off by saying that the “show” will be scheduled. The Live game is a hosted experience by Chris Cashman and is two-hours long. That doesn’t mean you have to play all two hours or even show up on time, but the longer you’re playing the more chances you’ll have to win prizes. Yes, prizes! At other times, there will be a “Extended Play” version of the show with no host where gamers can compete for top scores and increase their chances of being chosen as the One or Mob in the real show.
The One can win up to 10,000 Microsoft Points and/or an Xbox LIVE Arcade game. That’s $125. That’s the grand prize if the One can survive through all 100 members of the Mob. If the Mob wins, they can also win a (smaller) amount of MS Points and/or an Xbox Live Arcade game. The top three scoring crowd members will also win prizes each round. Additionally, the more you participate, the higher your chances are for winning sweepstakes prizes at the middle and end of the game’s “season.”
If you’re in the crowd (and you will be), you can play with three friends or be matched up with three other players. You’ll be able to voice chat with them and see how your score compares. It’s a cool way to meet people and it gets even better with some trash-talking (G4 does not condone trash-talking). The key to being a top scorer is answering accurately and quickly. You’ll get bonus points based on how quickly you answer and a streak of correct answers boosts your score even more.
Now, here’s the part of this preview you might not care about, but it’s worth talking about how Microsoft has potentially created an extremely powerful engine for more content like 1 vs 100 Live. Primetime supports a lot of players and features live content in a nice mix. It’s for Xbox Live Gold members only, but allows them to compete for prizes for free. Microsoft will fund and monetize this in part by showing advertisements. I know you’re rolling your eyes because everyone hates commercials, but it isn’t as jarring as you’d think. It’s a quick thirty seconds out of a fun, free experience.
The first season of 1 vs 100 Live will launch later this summer on Xbox LIVE Primetime for Gold subscribers.