Microsoft ( MSFT) has delayed the launch of its ambitious Xbox Live Primetime game show until spring 2009, according to news reports Tuesday.

Perceived as a leap forward in gaming technology, Xbox Live Primetime is a multi-player virtual game show that offers prizes. The game was originally scheduled for a Nov. 19 launch, along with a slew of other Xbox announcements, but Forbes reports that Primetime has now been delayed while Microsoft works on its user interface.

Microsoft shares dipped slightly in early trading, falling 18 cents, or 0.73%, to $24.54.

Touted as a potential challenger to traditional TV shows, Xbox Live Primetime was expected to ride the current boom in video gaming and offer gamers a completely new type of experience.

Despite a tough economy, the video game industry continues to grow and retain customers, although Primetime now looks as if it going to miss the lucrative holiday season.

Microsoft, which has partnered with the TV production company Endemol, is currently developing an online version of the "1 vs 100" game show for Xbox Live Primetime.

The software giant still plans to unveil its "New Xbox Experience' on Nov. 19, which includes a Microsoft 'virtual world' similar to that offered by Linden Lab's "Second Life."

Faced with stiff comptition from Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft has branched into new areas such as virtual worlds and Xbox Live Primetime.

The Redmond, Wash.-based firm also trimmed its Xbox pricing last month to boost its game and online revenues.

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