Microsoft turns Office into a game

Microsoft seems to be trying to screw more mileage out of its expensive Office package by peddling it towards the games market.

A new game called Ribbon Hero uses the different features of Office and can be played on the social notworking site Facebook.

The game was designed by Redmond’s Office Labs as a training tool to unlock all those functions in the product which no one uses.

Jennifer Michelstein, a program manager at Microsoft’s Office Labs told the Beeb that there were shedloads of functions in Office which many users could not find.

Gaming seemed to be a good method to copy because people learn almost effortlessly when play is enjoyable, she said.

Michelstein said that Microsoft was sceptical about the idea at first, after all it is jolly difficult to build anything fun out of an Office program.

Still it worked out better than the talking paper clip. This was mostly because it was designed as a training tool and not as a ‘help I am stuck’ feature.

The game presents people with challenges based on features that they do not use. It is also a casual game that people can fit into the short breaks people take during a normal working day.

Users who complete challenges are rewarded with points to show how their prowess with the software has grown.

Ribbon Hero works with versions of Office 2007 and above and will run on Windows 7, Vista and XP. It will be launched later this year.