04:43 AM

Monday 2.0: Xbox devel for everyone, Current gets some mojo

By Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

XBox 2.0

The 2.0 meme is all over the front pages today. First and foremost, Microsoft takes a 2.0 approach to future XBox development with the release of a low-end game authoring environment for the XBox 360. Reports the Times:

Programs created with XNA Game Studio Express will not look as good as most packaged titles. But at a time when gamers seem tired of sequels and genre standards, the company says it believes that some kind of independent games business could provide a breath of fresh air. “We thought a lot about ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ ” said Scott Henson, a director for Microsoft’s game developer group, referring to the low-budget horror film that became a surprise hit in 1999.

And, of course, the company hopes the process of making games proves as addictive as playing them. “On the Internet, we’re going from a monologue world to a dialogue world,” Mr. Henson said, referring to sites with user-created content like MySpace and YouTube. “It’s amazing how much participation there is.”

TV 2.0

And Current, the cable network co-founded by Al Gore that broadcasts user-generated content, is suddenly looking good to investors. The magic phrase that causes otherwise hard-boiled business types to moan "ooooo" is - wait for it - "YouTube."

The Chronicle says: "Now carried in 30 million homes, Current will announce a plan next month for online expansion and is planning an international version next year. Madeleine Smithberg, co-creator of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," will start a daily offering this fall that's still under wraps.'

The pitch to creators is basically that getting a bazillion views on YouTube might get you web wuffie but it won't make you any money. Getting on current will pay you some bucks and get you on the big small screen, and that could lead to a call from, say, Honda to direct an ad for their next under-30 campaign.

That's a fine theory, but asks Broadcast & Cable's John Higgins: "Do you ever hear people say, 'Did you see that video on Current?' No. They say, 'Did you see that video on YouTube?' " Ouch. So why not just the YouTube Channel? A creative/marketing deal with say, I dunno, News Corp? I think such a deal is Chad Hurley's for the asking.

As the owner of dynamo MySpace, which in large part powered the YouTube phenom, as the Mercury News notes, News Corp is by far the most savvy at bridging the TV/cable-to-online divide. So much so that they had Google jumping through hoops to land a search and ad-serving deal.

Other news of note: AOL buys Uplane to extend the AIM network into a social engineering play; and the big shocker ... AP discovers that Google replaced the Froogle link with Video. John Batelle holds forth.