Microsoft to Add in-Game Help

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A patent filed by Microsoft has come to light, showing that the company could well be implementing a help system that can be accessed by players mid-game, offering hints, tips or strategies for dealing with areas players might be stuck in.

Word comes via SiliconEra of Microsoft’s in-game help access, which they dub “Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Super Guide.” The good news is that it’s to be made available over Xbox Live, and partially built up by players, meaning that developers needn’t necessarily sit down writing out a list of frequently asked questions about every game they make; players with enough interest to participate can do so instead.

Of course, the idea here is that, while Nintendo’s Super Guide simply plays through the most trying sections of a game for you, Microsoft’s offering would simply offer helpful tips or suggestions for those who manage to get themselves stuck enough to feel they need to consult a guide.

It’s certainly interesting to offer something like this for the Xbox 360. If it really takes off and becomes something players consider to be genuinely useful then it could become one of the few points that really allows potential console buyers to differentiate between the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in a meaningful sense.

Of course, as SoliconEra points out, there’ll be a fairly solid issue with games that aren’t too popular not seeing as much added to their in game help options, though that is, of course, a concern that won’t be something the majority of players encounter, for obvious reasons. If nothing else we’ll be curious to see just how it all works out for Microsoft; certainly it seems a much more stomachable option than the Super Guide… which has an almost patronising feel to it, somehow.

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