One of Xbox Live’s most innovative features, the online game show 1 vs. 100, won’t return for another season.
If you missed it, 1 vs. 100 was a trivia show in which one contestant would try to outlast a “mob” of 100 others, each of whom face elimination with wrong answers. Players who weren’t competing could still answer questions from the sidelines, with a chance to rotate into the main game. Semiweekly live shows, hosted by comedian Chris Cashman, offered prizes to the winners.
The game was included with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, and at one point attracted more than 60,000 players to the live show. Microsoft didn’t say why it canned the show, only noting that the development team will move on to other projects. It’s rumored that the original 1 vs. 100 television show, hosted by Bob Saget for two seasons on NBC, could return, so maybe that was an issue for Microsoft.
Whatever the reason, I hope Microsoft comes up with a suitable replacement. As several commenters on Kotaku wisely point out, 1 vs. 100 is a social, casual game that draws in exactly the same crowd Microsoft will try to capture with the Kinect motion-sensing camera. And Kinect support seems like an obvious choice for game shows; imagine waving your arms in celebration and seeing an avatar do the same, or raising your hand to answer a question and speaking the answer.
Kinect aside, the idea of a massive multiplayer online game show is just plain cool. Half the fun of watching game shows on television is trying to answer questions yourself, and 1 vs. 100 let spectators do that by sectioning non-players into small groups to compete amongst themselves. I think 1 vs. 100 had a chance to revolutionize game shows, but like an anxious TV network, Microsoft pulled the plug too soon.