It took a while longer than expected, but Microsoft is finally ready to flip the switch on its Xbox Live Primetime channel. Starting this Friday, Canadians will be among the first to test out a new hybrid experience, one that combines the NBC television game show "1 vs. 100" with interactive online gaming. The live hosted games will "air" on Friday and Saturday nights through the Xbox Live network, where participants will get a chance to compete against one another for real prizes.

For those not familiar with 1 vs. 100, the game basically pits one player (known as 'The One') against a hundred other contestants ('The Mob') in a somewhat classic question-and-answer contest, where the host asks a particular question and gives participants roughly 5 seconds to choose from three possible answers. Players are eliminated with each wrong answer; the one must out-survive all one hundred members of the mob to win or else those in the mob who manage to survive until the end of the game split the prize.

Given the nature of the show only 101 players can participate. You will be using your Xbox Live avatar to wait in a virtual lobby before the start of each game, where one player is chosen at random to be The One and 100 more are selected for The Mob. Remaining players can stay connected to watch the show take place as part of the virtual studio audience and still answer questions to increase their chances of being among the 101 in the next round. Prizes consist of XBL gamer points and other XBL arcade games.

It's quite an interesting and ambitious concept, one that could attract more casual gamers to Microsoft's console. Players across the globe, speaking different languages, can supposedly play together since questions are translated and even localized for foreign gamers - though initially "test pilot" episodes will run in Canada only.