Microsoft have announced a huge list of Media partners from across the world who will be joining the Xbox 360 experience this winter, in a new movement that is set to revolutionise the ways in which console owners access and ingest their entertainment sources. Remote controllers will be a thing of the past as Kinect will combine with these new channels in order to allow for motion-based controls, as well as voice-activated commands. There will be around forty new entertainment providers from around the world taking part in the new scheme, including such heavyweights as HBO and SyFy in the United States and BBC and Channel 4 in the UK.
Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment stoked the hyperbole fire: “Today’s announcement is a major step toward realising our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy… Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.”
Users will be able to switch from their games, to television shows, to listening to music – all with the power of their voice alone. The Kinect sensor will recognise specific commands which will allow for effortless transitions between your preferred media sources. The new companies joining Xbox 360 will be adding to the already-impressive line-ups, that features BSkyB, Netflix, Hulu and Canal+, around the globe. Certain countries will also provide on-demand sporting events and content, that users will be able to pick and order on the fly, whenever they feel in the mood for sports. This includes UFC – the Ultimate Fighting Championship – who will have a channel all to themselves in the United States and Canada, bringing their brand of fighting to home consoles. This will include on-demand back catalogue fights, Interactive Fight Cards and live pay-per-view fight nights.
And it’s not just TV channels that are coming to Xbox – well-known internet video, news and music channels will also be making their way onto the console. These include; AlloCiné, Dailymotion, iHeartRadio, MSN with MSNBC.com, “The Today Show,” TMZ, VEVO and – finally – YouTube. And searching these channels for content you are interested in will be easier than ever with Kinect-based search engine integration. Using the Microsoft search provider, Bing, users will be able to simply speak the show or video they are looking for, and it will appear in the search results. Community features such as sharing suggestions and social media integration will further create a feeling of all of your media-based needs being instantly accessible in one place.
See below for a list of Entertainment Partners coming on Xbox 360 (Existing and New):
ABC iView – Australia
AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
Antena 3 – Spain
Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
AT&T – U.S.
BBC – U.K.
blinkbox – U.K.
Bravo – U.S.
BSkyB – U.K.
Canal+ – France, Spain
Channel 4 – U.K.
Channel 5 – U.K.
CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
Comcast – U.S.
Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
EPIX – U.S.
ESPN – U.S.
Facebook – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
FOXTEL – Australia
GolTV – Spain
HBO GO – U.S.
Hulu – Japan
Hulu +– U.S.
iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
Last.fm– U.K., U.S.
LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
Manga Entertainment – U.S.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
MediaSet – Italy
MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
Netflix– Canada, U.S.
Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
RTVE – Spain
SBS On Demand – Australia
Syfy – U.S.
Telefonica – Spain
Televisa – Mexico
“The Today Show” – U.S.
TELUS – Canada
TMZ – U.S.
Twitter – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
UFC – Canada, U.S.
Verizon – U.S.
VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
VimpelCom – Russia
Vodafone Portugal – Portugal
YouTube – Available in 22 markets
ZDF – Germany
Zune– Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.
This is all set to begin an exciting new era in home entertainment, where Microsoft have managed to bring together a huge number of big-hitting content. Services will hit the UK this Christmas, and it is all set to provide another big reason for consumers to choose Xbox this holiday season – Godisageek will bring you more news as soon as it is available, as to when the update is due to hit your consoles. In the meantime, check out the selection of images of the new features below.
If I'm not playing on a good Adventure Game - still longing for the long-past Golden Age of the genre, when Lucasarts and Sierra ruled supreme - you might find me searching for a local arcade, in the hopes that it still houses titles such as Sunset Riders or WindJammers.