Microsoft to Introduce "Panorama;" Live Arcade for Vista?

By Chris Remo, Aug 11, 2006 1:58pm PDT Shacknews has learned from reputable sources who wish to remain nameless that Microsoft plans to introduce what seems to be a Windows gaming service called "Panorama." Apparently, Panorama will be a part of Windows Vista and will act essentially as Xbox Live Arcade for Windows. PC gamers will be able to not only play Live Arcade games, but will also be able to engage in multiplayer gaming versus gamers playing on the Xbox 360 version of the service. It does not appear that Panorama emulates the Xbox 360 environment, which suggests that developers creating cross-platform compatible Live Arcade games may have to release two versions, one for each platform. However, Microsoft tools such as XNA should expedite this process.

Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360 has proven to be a wildly successful enterprise, both for Microsoft and for the third party publishers and developers releasing Live Arcade games. It is home to both original titles such as Bizarre Creations' 2D shooter Geometry Wars and classic arcade games such as Capcom's Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting.

When contacted for comment, Microsoft acknowledged the existence of Panorama but would not confirm or elaborate on any particular features. It is possible that the company plans to announce the project during its Microsoft Gamefest conference in Seattle next week. Shacknews will be covering the event.

Update: Microsoft's Andre "Ozymandias" Vrignaud has addressed this rumor on his blog, stating that Panorama is the codename being used internally by Microsoft for the first stages of translating Xbox Live to Windows. Though he did not address individual features, it seems likely that early versions of Live on Vista will be less ambitious than what is described here, though Shacknews' sources seemed confident that this functionality is indeed something being planned. Again, Microsoft is likely to reveal something relating to this project in just a few days at its Gamefest event.

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