With the Xbox One set to launch in 13 countries on November 22nd, Microsoft is actively trying to beef up its TV and video streaming content. Although you may have already heard about the Halo spin-off series that Microsoft is developing in conjunction with esteemed director Steven Spielberg, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to a Bloomberg interview with Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, the Xbox team has “literally hundreds of ideas that they are incubating right now". One such idea is an ongoing partnership with the NFL, bringing features such as access to video highlights and real-time scoring information. In addition to this favorite American pastime, international sports are also expected to be added to the mix at a later date. "We will have some new announcement for TV shows coming pretty soon," added Spencer.
Although Microsoft has admittedly little experience in the television industry, they have added some valuable new members to the team. Just last year, they hired former CBS Television Studios President Nancy Tellem to head up the entertainment and digital media division. In speaking her praise, Spencer told Reuters that the new TV shows are collectively being referred to as the “Nancy Projects”.
Generally speaking, it will be interesting to see how the shift from purely gaming devices to all-inclusive entertainment packages is received by the public. For most, the ability to watch TV, listen to music, or conduct a video chat while simultaneously playing a game is a welcome convenience. Nevertheless, each of these components must be individually impressive in order for the Xbox to solidify itself as a stand-alone device.
By the looks of their first official Xbox One commercial (shown below), Microsoft is clearly embracing the console’s new entertainment side. Rather than targeting traditional gamers, the commercial targets NFL fans by showcasing the aforementioned football features.
At this point in time, it’s still a relatively tight race between the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4; with the latter set to release to US consumers on November 15th, a week prior to its Microsoft counterpart. The Xbox One will retail for $499, while the PlayStation 4 will retail for $399.