Xbox 360 Solidifies Position as Media Console Leader…Again
Microsoft has, for at least the past couple of years, banged the drum of “Media hub” when talking about Xbox 360. Each year the “core” gamers have moaned as Microsoft increasingly focused on building up Xbox 360’s street cred as a legitimate living room jack-of-all-trades, but for the most part it’s worked out well for the big M. Truth be told, it’s worked out well for gamers, too. We’ve gotten the ability to cheaply stream gobs of content from the likes of Hulu, Netflix and other sources to any TV, all while continuing to enjoy a wealth of high end games content and a great online service that still can’t be beat by any other console. So it should come as no surprise that this E3, while bereft of surprises and relatively light on new games franchises or non-sequel IP, has nevertheless delivered a plethora of cool stuff for the media consuming masses. I’m gonna take a moment to summarize a few of these right after the break, and I invite you to join me and share your thoughts on Xbox 360’s latest bounty.
First, the exciting bits: Xbox Smart Glass, coming to everything that might conceivably have glass in it, on it, or tangentially related to it. If you own an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Android tablet, Windows Phone, or expect to own a Windows tablet in the fall (hint: they’re fucking sexy), you’ve got a compatible slab of hardware. We’ll have a more detailed post soon, but for now just know this: Smart Glass turns your device into an extension of the Xbox 360 and of Microsoft’s ecosystem no matter who made the hardware. Yes, that’s pretty damn smart.
Second, Internet Explorer coming to Xbox 360 is no small thing, particularly considering its deep Kinect integration. From the looks of things, I’d guess it’s based on the Metro version of IE shipping with Windows 8, meaning it should really be a very full featured browser–maybe even toting limited flash, if Microsoft’s being consistent.
Third, Xbox Music, the new service replacing Zune Music, looks to integrated deeply with the aforementioned Smart Glass technology and should really do some amazing stuff to expand the user’s ease of access to media. If they go as deep as I hope they will with the voice control (I feel Kinect voice control on Xbox 360 is still lacking), this could really become something special.
Fourth, Windows 8 connectivity. We don’t yet know how deep this goes, but if the Xbox companion apps on Windows Phone 7 and the Release Preview are any indicator, Xbox as a core of Microsoft’s ecosystem has become a very compelling device.
Last but not least, the obvious: more content partners. Microsoft’s managed to persuade another 35 service providers to join the Xbox 360’s growing stable of content partners–a stable that dwarfs the competition handily. I’ve copied and pasted the list below, and you can decide for yourself which is the most interesting. Now I’m off to blog on other topics, a slave to the grind that is E3.
The new 35 are:
|o Absolute Radio – U.K.
o Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.
o BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.
o Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.
o Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden
o Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle – Canada
o GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
o Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
o Indie Flix – U.S.
o Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets
o Napster – Germany, U.K.
o Nickelodeon – U.S.
o Paramount Movies – U.S.
o Picturebox – U.K.
o Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand
o Rakuten ShowTime – Japan
o Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.
o Rhapsody – U.S.
o RTL XL – Netherlands
o Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.
o SnagFilms – U.S.
o Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico
o The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.
o The Weather Channel – U.S.
o The Whistle – U.S.
o TOU.TV – Canada
o TV3 – Spain
o Twitch TV – U.S.
o Univision – U.S.
o Wuaki – Spain
o Youzee – Spain