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Sports Equipment Technology

Xbox Live: Just Needs Its Own Late-Night Talk Show

January 20, 2010

Is Xbox Live really the cable channel Microsoft (News - Alert) executives think - would like you to think - it is?

If The New York Times is to be believed, then company officials are seeing Xbox 'not merely as a gaming machine for teenagers, but as a media portal for parents and grandparents, too.'

Microsoft has plans, big plans for Xbox Live. Betcha didn't know there's a show produced for it, 1 vs. 100, described by the Times as 'an interactive version of a game show that was on NBC.'
Microsoft is even talking with Disney about a programming deal with ESPN (News - Alert) for a per-subscriber fee, presumably where ESPN could stream sports to the channel a la ESPN 360.

It's not a bad concept. As TorrentBomb correctly points out, 'there are a lot more of us who watch TV than game. And gaming consoles, already present in many households, are reasonable platforms for streaming media from the Internet.'

Ben Patterson, The Gadget Hound, says were the ESPN deal to go through, 'it would represent a big chunk of live streaming sports 'over the top' of big cable and satellite, not to mention a coup for the Xbox Live marketing department.'

Of course none of this is official, nobody's commenting for the record on anything, and now that you know this your computer will be confiscated and destroyed.

Evidently there are about 20 million monthly members of Xbox Live, and according to the Times, 'they can surf Facebook (News - Alert), browse an online mall of movies and TV episodes and, if they pay, watch Netflix.'

Xbox's numbers - 20 million monthly subscribers, a million daily users -- sound good, putting it in Cartoon Network or TBS territory, until you consider that when somebody's got the channel on Cartoon Network they're actually watching a show, not playing a game.

But it's happening now: In Britain, industry observer Stephen Foley reports that 'these days, if you've already got a Microsoft Xbox under the television, you can get Sky's sports channels through the games console. If you've got a Sony PlayStation3, you can use it to get programmes via the BBC's iPlayer, rather than having to watch them on your laptop. And, Nintendo Wii users were told last week that they are going to be able to start streaming full-length movies over their console, thanks to a deal with Netflix.'

And let's remember, as Foley reminds us, that 'it was Microsoft which kicked off the revolution with the launch, back in 2001, of the Xbox, the first console to come with a broadband Internet connection, and the roll-out of Xbox Live the following year.'

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi