In January, Microsoft posted up a profile of Boyd Multerer, the director of development for their Xbox team. He's also the first person ever to log into Xbox Live and came up with the now retired XNA game development toolset. However, Microsoft's profile also mentioned that Multerer is now on sabbatical from the company to help launch a new venture with his wife, Keri.
That side project is now live and it's called SilkWords. It's a romance literature website that targets the huge female audience for similar stories that have been presented mostly in prose novels. SilkWords offers up a "Choose Your Own Adventure" element in their tales; at some points, the author gives the reader a choice to take one path or another. Thankfully, the reader can go back and choose the other direction if they don't like where their first decision ended up.
In a chat with The Verge, Multerer says the idea behind SilkWords was to merge the interactivity of video games with traditional prose storytelling. He states, "Here’s a story. Let’s bring a little bit of video game in and see how we can make it more interesting."
SilkWords, which also offers some more adult-themed tales, uses a subscription model with a monthly price of $4.99 or $44.99 per year. That allows people to read any of the stories on the site which, at the moment, isn't that much since SilkWords launched just a couple of weeks ago. New stories are posted every week.
Multerer tells The Verge they have kept the development costs of SilkWords "as low as you possibly can" and hopes that as the number of stories on the site increase, more people will sign up for a subscription. It will be interesting to see if this sabbatical project is successful and, if so, how it might affect Multerer's thinking when he returns full-time to Microsoft's Xbox team.