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NFL Fans Score Big with the Combination Play of Surface and the Xbox One

January 07, 2014


Microsoft (News - Alert) has been seen sticking with a new kind of strategy for the last several months, at least as far as its gaming system the Xbox One goes. While the gaming side of the Xbox One has seen frequent changes in its overall usefulness, the overall thrust has remained much the same in that Microsoft wants to be a complete living room solution, not just a gaming system. To that end we've seen Microsoft get very much involved on several fronts, from gaming to entertainment, and one thing that's becoming clear is that Microsoft and sports—particularly football—are going a long way together.

While the Xbox One is becoming a bigger part of football fans' lives than some might have envisioned, it's the connection to Surface that's said to be particularly helpful, especially as it works with the Xbox One. For instance, there are several apps that can be helpful for football buffs on Xbox One, like NFL Game Rewind and NFL Mobile, as well as Xbox SmartGlass. The introduction of the Surface tablet—which is at last report still the official tablet of the NFL—makes moving through these apps substantially easier and thus allows users to better multitask during games. That improved multitasking capability allows for a better overall experience, deeper and richer with more information on hand.

Basically, what the combination of Xbox One and Surface has done for Microsoft-using football fans is compress the multi-screen experience—television, laptop, mobile device or devices—down into a more compact experience that's basically just television and Surface. Senior director for Xbox Sports, David Jurenka, describes it like this: “We want to allow the user to lean back and enjoy the game, through things like a personalized destination for NFL content, integration of your fantasy football team – whether that’s in the full app or Snap app experience – or the extension to SmartGlass, where you can see highlights come through on your second device, and push those to your TV that’s connected to Xbox One.”

In the end, it's all about connectivity. This makes the combination of Microsoft's Xbox One and the Surface a powerful combination for users, allowing for not only the connectivity to watch games, but also interact with said games—whether it's in straight conversation or in a fantasy football setting—as well as have the necessary tools on hand to get some work done, all at the same time.

Naturally, some are going to be put off by this. Plenty of gamers out there will likely look at this combination and say, great, but I didn't come here for football. I came here for the next Bioshock and Fallout and Elder Scrolls and Dead Rising and the like. But there are plenty of gamers who enjoy football, and that's the kind of connectivity that those gamers will value. Indeed, there's also the issue of families to consider, with one person in the house fond of football and another happy with regular gaming experiences.

It's an interesting strategy, all told, and Microsoft may well have the necessary power to pull off such a blitz. It won't break every defensive line, of course—Sony seems to be cultivating an edge with just plain gamers, one strengthened if that new headset it's working on, the HMZ-T3Q, makes it to PlayStation 4—but it may well find sufficient audience to make its push on the goal at least come close and give it a nice field position going into the first year of the new generation of gaming.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker