Microsoft broadband gaming partners boxed off

15 Oct 2003

Eircom, Esat BT and NTL have been selected to take part in the Irish segment of an eight-country European broadband launch of the new Xbox Live online gaming service.

The service aims to provide the gaming community with always-on high-speed broadband games. Some 22 telecoms and internet service providers across Europe have been chosen for the eight-country launch and will be joined with 50 other broadband providers in North America and Japan.

Eircom and Esat BT will be providing the service over DSL, while NTL will be offering the service to its cable customers.

Microsoft’s current partnership with telcos in Europe will be expanded to include deals with France Telecom’s Wanadoo service to cover the Netherlands, Spain and the UK as well as adding Wind in Italy.

Xbox Live, currently available in the US, Canada, Japan, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK, is the most successful paid online gaming service with more subscribers than any competitive paid online gaming site, Microsoft has claimed.

Xbox is growing the online gaming community with Xbox Live. In less than 11 months Xbox Live, the dedicated broadband online gaming service, has taken off with more than 500,000 people playing on Xbox Live worldwide and participating in more than 15 million gaming sessions every week. Xbox Live is said to have hosted more games to date than the number of games played in the histories of the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball combined. Fifty Live-enabled Xbox games are expected by the end of this calendar year and 100 by the end of the 2004 financial year.

By John Kennedy