Xbox Live preps spectator seats

Tired of being the whipping boy in Xbox Live? Microsoft has just filed a patent for a feature that’ll let you watch games from the sidelines, direct t

Tired of being the whipping boy in Xbox Live? Microsoft has just filed a patent for a feature that’ll let you watch games from the sidelines, direct the footage and generally find out how the hell everyone’s so good.

The patent – which is the company’s 5,000th following billions of dollars of research investment – talks of letting Xbox Livers create highlight slideshows, instant replays and control several virtual cameras.

It’ll also apparently let you find the most popular games by offering a preview function, and offer connectivity to mobile devices for on-the-move viewing.

We’re not sure how many gamers will be prepared to lay down the control pad to watch today’s 360 tussles, but Microsoft did suggest at the console’s launch that huge Project Gotham 3 tournaments (above) with thousands of dollars of real prize money could be imminent.

With online gamers starting to rival sports fans for numbers and obsessiveness, a sport-style TV show could draw some decent worldwide viewing figures.

The ‘spectator’ mode hopefully won’t just be for morally degrading video games [story here]. Microsoft has hinted that educational programs for schoolkids are a possibility, and could work with its forthcoming rival for the PS2’s Eyetoy webcam. More news when we get it.

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