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Microsoft won’t confirm ME Xbox Live rollout

Spokesperson clarifies reasons behind delay in bringing the Microsoft gaming and media service to the region

Microsoft won’t confirm ME Xbox Live rollout
Users can enjoy multiplayer games and download free content such as music and television shows through the Microsoft Xbox Live service.

Microsoft has still not confirmed when their Xbox Live online gaming and media service will be available in the Middle East, with a company spokesperson blaming the delay on a "number of reasons".

Xbox Live made its debut in the United States late in 2002 and is now available across 26 countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, India and Sweden. Unfortunately, countries in the Middle East that have a strong gaming community such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates will have to wait a little longer to log in to the experience.

"Unfortunately we haven't been in a position yet to confirm launch dates where we don't have Live," commented Robert Dekker, E&D marketing manager for Microsoft EMEA. "Launching Live now in any country is more complex than it was four years ago and obviously we are seeking to provide that high level, rather than to say we could potentially launch something easy and quick. That's not the direction we want to do and I don't think customers will appreciate it if we do that."

With the recent inclusion of Facebook and Twitter to the Xbox Live experience internationally, along with greater compatibility with Microsoft's Zune player, Dekker says that the bar has been raised in terms of the minimum experience they'd like to offer when rolling out the service in any new country.

"Whenever we do go into a country and roll out Live, there's all these feature sets that have to go with it. Not all the features are the same globally," clarified Dekker.

The company is also trying to get the necessary certification and legal approvals in order, but admits there have been challenges in terms of deciding how to distribute and control digital content so as not to offend local sensitivities in emerging markets.

Dekker did however assure gamers in the Middle East that rolling out Live is something they are "definitely working on".

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