Last week we spoke to Tania Chee, Marketing Manager for Xbox LIVE, about 1 vs 100 - the new virtual gameshow that lets you win real-world prizes. Read on for details of how the game will work.
VideoGamer.com: How long have you been working on this project?
Tania Chee: This was originally announced at E3 last year, and up to this point we've been getting ready to launch. It's a new genre of entertainment, so obviously it takes time to get into it. But we're really excited and when we show it to people like you [the Press], everyone's faces light up.
VideoGamer.com: So, let me get this right: playing during the week will boost your chance of getting picked for the main game at the weekend, and that's when you stand a shot at winning prizes, right?
TC: Okay, so let me talk you through it. 1 vs 100 Live is aired in the UK and Ireland on Friday and Saturday nights...
VideoGamer.com: At what kind of times?
TC: It'll be in the evenings - peak usage times, just like on TV. In a two-hour show, depending on how The One is doing, you may get four to six games. In the live show you have James McCourt hosting, and the prize is Microsoft Points - the more people you knock out, the more you can win. But also in the UK and Ireland we're doing something different to the US, in that we're offering real prizes as well. So there will be a schedule of prizes ranging from laptops to HDTVs, holidays - even a car. We just think that... imagine you're sat at home playing for a holiday or a car? How exciting will that be?
VideoGamer.com: How much are you spending on your prizes?
TC: Well, we don't really disclose our budgets. But this is our beta 1, so we'll take a lot of things from that and look at our marketing budgets [laughs].
VideoGamer.com: If the format takes off could we see the show happening more frequently than just on Friday and Saturday nights?
TC: Absolutely. We're treating this launch as a TV channel would launch a show. You have your first season and then you take your learnings from that and move forward. We absolutely hope that this is going to be, think it will be a compelling thing that people want to get into. So after that, who knows? Anything could happen.
VideoGamer.com: Is there a limit to the number of people the show can support?
TC: It could support thousands. I can tell you that now because in Canada they're actually running their beta, and I think the other week they had 17 or 18 thousand people playing. It's a bit like how we launched Xbox LIVE as a service, years ago. You grow, and you just add more!
VideoGamer.com: Do you anticipate that this is a format that other developers will copy, that there will be other live quiz games?
TC: You mean our platform...?
VideoGamer.com: Well, on your platform... and obviously there are those other companies that makes games consoles...
TC: The ones we don't talk about? [laughs]
VideoGamer.com: Perhaps! But broadly, do you think that this is a new genre that lots of people will go for?
TC: We are absolutely thinking that this is a new genre of entertainment. I can't speak as to what they [other companies] might do, but if it's a success it's good for us, and good for the industry. So bring it on!
VideoGamer.com: How do you did you go about balancing the weekday version of the game against the live version? There are no prizes to be won, but obviously you want people to play.
TC: Extended Play will air seven days a week for half an hour sessions at a time, and in those shows there will also be theme nights - Formula 1 night, Battle of the Sexes night. We wanted to take these two approaches to allow people to have the entertainment they want, because maybe they just want to play for half an hour. But obviously the peak usage time is going to be during our live shows, because that's when you can win prizes. In terms of how you're chosen for the game... there's a very complex algorithm for that involving how often you play and your speed accuracy. Obviously we don't want a One who is going to get the answers wrong. But the thing is, those stats are reset on a weekly basis, so it allows more and more people to have a chance of being The One.
VideoGamer.com: So you won't get someone dominating the stats?
TC: No. You could go away on holiday for two weeks and come back, and you won't be at a disadvantage. There is a degree of randomness in how we choose people, so hopefully everyone will get a shot.
VideoGamer.com: Back to the Extended Play mode... will there be any incentive for winning that?
TC: When you play Extended Play, every correct answer you make will also put you into a draw to win sweepstake prizes. There will be two prize draws a season, and they will involve things like an entertainment system or digital camera, plus digital prizes as well.
VideoGamer.com: And how long will a season last?
TC: At this point in time we've not decided how long it will last. The decision hasn't been made as to how long the season will go for. But we'll have more information soon!
The 1 vs 100 UK beta is expected to launch very soon.