LeakGate: Microsoft and Activision Plans Out of the Bag

Posted by: Matt Vella on June 16

Gamers are gleefully mulling over the contents of leaked documents that just may reveal top-secret projects from Activision and Microsoft. Gaming blogs exploded over the weekend in reaction to the discovery of private information posted on marketing research company Intellisponse’s website that seemed to preview a number of future gaming-related announcements by both firms.

Companies often survey customers about possible future developments, without necessarily committing to bringing hypothetical products and services to market. Still, the data hinted at some pretty tantalizing possibilities, which included:

— Mii-like avatars in Xbox Live.
— Touch sensitivity for the next Guitar Hero.
A Microsoft-sanctioned karaoke game similar to Sony’s SingStar.
— Information about upcoming Forza and Call of Duty titles.
More games employing the Wii’s balance board.
— Trioxide, a service allowing PC users to play console games.

A Microsoft spokesperson today told games blog Kotaku, “We regularly test all kinds of concepts in market research with our Xbox community. These may or may not be real products in development or ever be released to consumers.” Intellisponse, meanwhile, declined to comment.

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No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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