Microsoft has gained exclusivity with the second season of the Web show The Guild.
It will be the first to be distributed worldwide concurrently via Microsoft's triple platform of Xbox 360's Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune.
Sprint will also sponsor 12-episodes of The Guild. They will be the first to test Microsoft's approach to generate ad revenue by merging the concept of gaming console, Internet portal and portable media player.
The show premieres Tuesday on Independent Video, which is Xbox's original content channel. The channel has ad supported, as well as fee-based program.
With the launch of five to six programs, Xbox hopes to expand beyond gaming themes to capture a wider audience. They have a webisode called Horror Meets Comedy that's not gaming related.
The Guild's star, creator and writer-producer, Felicia Day, has become the icon of original Web production world. Her deal with Microsoft allows Ms. Day to retain the intellectual property rights to the show and collect unspecified upfront license fees.
She waited over a year for the right deal that would give her control over the creative, as well as the business side of The Guild.
Microsoft won't share in the revenue if the show goes on to TV or film. But it will retain gaming-related extensions.
Not only is there money to be made by all those involved--Mr. Day, Microsoft and marketers--but an added bonus for fans and future fans alike, is that the show will be distributed "day-and-date in nine languages in 26 countries where Xbox Live operates, reaching 14 million users. "Guild found unintended international appeal late in its run," according to Day.