A total of 13 US and Canadian broadband service providers are the first to publicly support the "Xbox Compatible" program, an initiative designed to make it easy for gamers to experience the forthcoming multiplayer Xbox Live service.
The current list of North American broadband service providers that will support Xbox Compatible include Bell Canada, BellSouth Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., EarthLink Inc., MSN, Qwest Communications, Rogers Cable Inc., SBC Communications Inc., TELUS Corp., Time Warner Cable's Road Runner service and Verizon Communications.
The broadband-only Xbox Live service, set to launch Nov. 15, will allow Xbox gamers to play against each other, talk back and forth via a new Xbox Communicator headset and download new content to the console.
The Xbox Compatible service plans will "help ensure that playing Xbox Live games across these plans will be quick, simple and hassle-free," said J. Allard, general manager of the Xbox platform, in a press release.
Microsoft is making a huge bet that Xbox Live will give it a competitive edge against gaming console rivals Nintendo GameCube and Sony, which shipped its 40 millionth PlayStation 2 on Sept. 19, according to CED sister company In-Stat/MDR.