It looks like Microsoft has used its massive PR vehicle at E3 to continue to ratchet up the pedestal for Xbox’s all-in-one entertainment box for the living room. The software giant has just announced the addition of over 30 million songs, numerous sports-related streaming venues, alongside connectivity with the Kinect for voice-control and search. Included in the announcement there’s been revealed over 35 new content partners launching on the Xbox over the next 12 months.
Almost connected to the release of Microsoft’s SmartGlass app, the Xbox 360 is also getting a music streaming app that should put the console right in line with music services such as iTunes and Amazon.com.
Global TV Entertainment Galore
Microsoft announced over 35 new TV entertainment partners to be added globally over the next 12 months. The list is staggering in size and covers countries as diverse as Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Australia, and Brazil.
Here’s some highlights from the lineup that Xbox 360 owners can expect to get access to: Comedy Central Stand Up, Machinima, Nickelodeon, Paramount Movies, Rakuten ShowTime, Rhapsody, The Weather Channel, Twitch TV—and you can go take a look at the full list published at Daily Markets.
This could be the tipping point for Microsoft finding their stride as the king of the living room as it’s obvious that Microsoft has been pushing this set-top-box dominance very hard. Recently the software giant added Amazon.com entertainment instant video streaming to the Xbox LIVE lineup and this will only continue to round out their offering beyond video games. Alongside the addition of cable lineups—including a partnership with Comcast and a broadcast partnership with Verizon FiOS TV.
Sports, Sports, Sports!
Video gaming is already a sport for any number of couch jockeys across the world; but many video game players also enjoy watching a little twirling pigskin or a rebounding inflated-synthetic composite ball. Microsoft is adding numerous sports channels to their Xbox LIVE streaming lineup alongside cable deals, downloadable video games, and streaming Internet-video.
Xbox LIVE is adding ESPN (24/7 live programming), NBA Game Time (2400 live games and highlights), NHL GameCenter LIVE, MLB.TV, and UFC:
Xbox brings you closer to the action, your favorite athletes, and your favorite teams. We already have great partners like MLB.TV and UFC, and our partnerships continue to grow with the addition of NBA League Pass and NHL Game Center. And ESPN on Xbox is about to get even better with 24/7 live programming. All your favorites, including Sportscenter, are now live on Xbox.
Across the world, sports provides a venue that makes the greatest use of livestreaming and the technology to do this not just over cable, but over the Internet is solidly at our fingertips. By adding a solid, powerful sports lineup to the Xbox 360, Microsoft is placing their gaming console even further into the all-in-one entertainment box market.
If all it means is an Xbox 360 (already useful for gaming and lounging around in the living room) and a subscription to Xbox LIVE to gain access not just to more movies, TV entertainment, but also up-to-date sports entertainment—including the possibility of pay-per-play sports live streaming—it will mean that Microsoft may have already won an early victory in the set-top-box competition.
The best part of this for them is that they don’t need to produce or sell new hardware to get people on board. Most of what Microsoft does with Xbox LIVE is only as far away as a system update pushed out via the Internet.