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Microsoft talks “entertainment” future of Xbox, drops E3 hints

Wednesday, 1st June 2011 09:32 GMT By Nathan Grayson

We’re all for swooping in to save the day at the last second, by this is getting ridiculous. After a strong 2010, Microsoft’s been eerily silent about what’s next for its old-but-not-over-the-hill box. Or at least, that’s been the case as far as games go. But the whole “videogame console” thing is only half the battle, and Microsoft’s now got a much larger target in its sights: “entertainment.”

“The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox LIVE – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe. That is why you’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year,” corporate communications VP Frank Shaw wrote in a blog post about Microsoft’s vision for Xbox’s future.

He also revealed that 40 percent of all Xbox use is now dedicated to non-game-related past-times. So, what’s the next step? “More,” Shaw said. “More options, more games, more videos, more entertainment.”

Which is all well and good, but what about, you know, videogames? Those little doohickeys we messed around with before the advent of cutting-edge trends like non-interactive film? Don’t worry. Microsoft hasn’t forgotten. Its memories are probably just a little different than yours, is all.

“Today, there is no better gaming experience in the world,” Shaw began. “Immersive games, sports games, games where you are the controller, games where you talk to your friends, games where you talk to the console, games that get you into shape, that make you laugh, that let you take a picture and share it with friends. Games that extend to your Windows 7 PC and your Windows Phone 7…and, of course, other devices to come…”

Other devices to come? Let us now all join in a collective “Hmmmmmm.” You may also want to grow a beard or two and stroke them. For now, though, vague hints are all we’ve got, as Shaw then closed out with this little number:

“Next Monday at E3 in Los Angeles, the Xbox home entertainment pot will be boiling over during a 90-minute event… We’re continuing to deliver mind-blowing gaming experiences, and we are turning up the heat on a whole new era of home entertainment.”

So then, you should probably pay attention to that. In the meantime, you could sniff around the rest of Shaw’s post for clues – if only to lose yourself in a very elaborate frog metaphor that we wish this site was better equipped to cover. But alas, “Microsoft proves frogs can be art” is just outside our coverage zone. Sad day.

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36 Comments

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  1. Blerk

    ESPN, Netflix and Hulu are all well and good if you’re American. Outside of the US they’re entirely useless.

    I don’t care about an ‘entertainment experience’ or ‘new devices’, make some fucking games you clowns!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    100% agree with Blerk.

    It’s all “blah blah blah” and “REAL ENTERTAINMENT”

    for F sake, it’s a console Microsoft.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Christopher Jack

    I don’t get it, why do we need a Gold sub to use another subscription service? Over here in Australia, we get Foxtel(a cable service) for XBL which starts from $20 per month which is a decent deal if you have the right broadband speeds & a large amount of quota, but they require a Gold sub too, WTF?!?

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Mike

    Sounds horrible. Just gimme some games.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Blerk

    We have the Sky thing in the UK, which I can actually use because I have a Sky sub. But I don’t use it. Because I have a Sky box to do that.

    Same with Last.FM – it’s nice to use on the computer while you’re working, and almost entirely useless on the Xbox.

    Twitter support’s alright for checking the very latest Tweets, but it’s a pretty rubbish client (only shows you the last 30 or 40 Tweets, which is about the last ten minutes for me) and actually typing anything is painful.

    I don’t use the video store. I don’t use any of the music stuff. I don’t rip MP3s or put my photos on the Xbox. I don’t stream stuff from my computer.

    Basically they’re spending loads of time building in features that my laptop or dedicated device does infinitely better. If you’re a kid with just a console in his bedroom then I can see that it might be desirable, but surely most people are still using the damn thing for playing games? The amount of effort being put into extraneous features seems disproportionate.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. benjymous

    In the UK, the BBC offers a free streaming service called iPlayer. Microsoft won’t let them put it on Xbox live without it being a gold only thing, but the BBC’s mandate means they’re not allowed to offer charged services to UK customers. Since neither party will budge, it means no BBC TV on Xbox :-/

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    @Bler, the thing is… Microsoft wanted Xbox and still wants it to be a Media hub.

    I expect next xbox to be more friendly with dude bros and Moms in terms of LIVE and etc. with blockbuster shitty titles like Halo and Call Of Duty with games like “Kinectimals 3: zoophilia friendship” and “Dance Central 5: Sexy Nerd”

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Christopher Jack

    The Xbox360 should only be used to play games, that’s all it does well. The PS3 is a good media player (compared to the 360), I use it all the time because it’s easy to use but it can still be improved upon, customizable folders with optional sub-folders would be useful, it’s still next to useless as a browser & was incredibly sluggish using Linux (which is why I don’t miss it), I would imagine ChromeOS as a good replacement, Google TV could be useful too but that seems too farfetched & is currently lacking.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Mondayding

    This is more about jockeying for position and setting the company’s hardware up for the future. Expand or die, right? Well I’d call this expansion…

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Goffee

    Microsoft can’t announce anything big at E3 as the tech press will be all over Apple’s WWDC big unveil (iOS5, maybe a new iPhone/iPad) which will be going on at the same time… http://t.co/BUErhT0

    #10 3 years ago
  11. TonyRomo

    I’m so tired of that media stuff. In Russia none of xbox’s media services are available anyway.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. daytripper

    @8 disagree somewhat, the HD movie streaming service is excellent. great picture quality and no waiting for downloads so its not all negative media wise on 360 but i agree with you the ps3 is a better media hub overall.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Deacon

    Didn’t MS previously bash Sony for the PS3 being a media-centre?

    And yeah, this is all well and good but what about UK services? Zoom is it? – apparently pretty lame.

    And you still can’t watch avi’s from a USB stick or transfer movies to your HD.

    They’ll need to make some serious changes if people outside of the US are gonna start using it as they say.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. STEGUINO

    its a games console ffs.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Blerk

    It all just smells of a box-ticking exercise rather than actually providing features which the majority of people would actually quite like to use.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Hunam

    I pretty much agree with everyone here that they need to focus on games. Since Matrick took over they’e basically shut down all their first party devs bar Rare and Lionhead and basically given up on exclusives.

    Peter Moore leaving the Xbox was the worst thing that happened to it, since then they’ve just been floundering around whilst he makes great strides at EA Sports.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Blerk

    Indeed! Come back, Peter – we never wanted you to go in the first place.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. kingofscotland

    Peter and his E3 tatoo FTW – find another top exec doing that lol

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Christopher Jack

    @12, The only streaming feature that I can comment about is through Windows Media Centre & I found that a clunky & slow feature. We don’t get things like Netflix & Hulu.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Freek

    And for our next trick, here’s even more shit nobody outside the US can use! The Xbox Budweiser drink dispenser add on, use your Zune as a touch screen controller, the Hustler channel now with full Kinect and party chat support. Isn’t it fantastic? What? Useless and possibly highly inapropriate? Hey, fuck you guy, it’s the Entertainment Future*Microsoft TM*!!

    #20 3 years ago
  21. James Mac

    If they want it to be a ‘media hub’, then they need some kind of PlayTV device.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. OlderGamer

    Just because content isn’t avalible in your region doesn’t make said content a bad idea. NA is the largest region. Its going to get the most attention.

    I use the Zune/Video store(alot).

    We don’t get Cable/Sat TV, that would cost us near 100usd/month. We use Netflix/XB LIVE. We use ESPN. Hula. And we buy/download Current TV shows with Season Passes. Those passes are cheaper then buying the Seasons at the store and you don’t have to wait a year for the current seasons to release.

    More good stuff = better value.

    I am not paying for LIVE Gold all over again for each iteam I use. Netflix doesn’t cost me a years Gold Sub. ESPN doesn’t cost me another years Gold Sub. Neither does anything else. All of the things offered are included in the Years worth of LIVE. And I am going to pay for that anyways. So everytime they add something, they are making that a better value.

    Honestly I know a lot of you EU folks hate MS for the LIVE fees. I don’t know – it isn’t that bad imo. And in return we get a dependable, fast, feature filled online service that offers us a lot more to do then just play video games.

    And not like we can’t play games. They are there too.

    I am not sure why people would want a system that does nothing but play games anymore.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Freek

    E3 is about the future of Xbox as a platform, if that future doesn’t reach beyond the borders of the US, then yes, it’s pointless and a bad idea.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. N2O1990

    @22
    because it’s Microsoft
    everything from Microsoft=bad in some people eyes,they don’t even remember MS talk about this over 5 years

    #24 3 years ago
  25. get2sammyb

    Microsoft’s been too quiet. They’re going to have something big I think. Having said that, credit where credit’s due, Pachter predicted they were going to go hard on turning XBOX into a media-box at this E3.

    I think the irony is, here in the UK, PlayStation does WAY more of that stuff than the 360. I think Microsoft needs to start looking OUTSIDE of North America for once.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. get2sammyb

    @22 – I agree with you. The more these boxes can do, the better. However, I think people — especially those from outside the US — would like to see Microsoft spend their E3 conference talking about big new games, rather than services they’re never going to get access to.

    That does sound reasonable. Of course it’s not a “bad idea” — it’s good for the health of the platform in the US — but it’s hardly the most exciting announcement for European users is it? That’s where the backlash comes in, I think.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Blerk

    It’s not that that stuff if bad as such, OG. More that it increasingly feels like it’s their main focus rather than the actual gaming.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. OlderGamer

    I can fully understand why EU folks could feel snubed a bit. But I think the bigger market is going to get the bigger slice of the attention pie. Also it would seem like it be as if complaining about a Japanese system having too many JP flavoured games/services.

    What I mean is, I think E3(on US soil) is going to cater to a US-centric demographic. And I think that until EU as a whole can show the same type of sales numbers as the NA market, I doubt much will change.

    I just don’t see the fire, where others are pointing to a lot of smoke.

    The system is a games heavy device. It also offers a robust line up of other media options, however many of those options are indeed home territory oriented.

    I would prolly feel different if the order of things were reversed. So like I said, i understand it.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. mojo

    11:
    in soviet russia xbox streams you!

    #29 3 years ago
  30. Deacon

    show me an xbox that can order a Domino’s, dispense Cream Soda & fellate my dog. Only THEN shall it be deemed a worthy hub of entertainment.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. DaMan

    In Soviet Russia Xbox talks entertainment future of Microsoft

    #31 3 years ago
  32. DaMan

    Also, Erthazus you really should play Halo one day, I for one would be interested in seeing the stats.

    #32 3 years ago
  33. Lewis247

    ….. and so the end of the gaming console begins.

    #33 3 years ago
  34. reask

    I agree with the majority in this thread.
    I bought it for gaming and everything else is just a bonus.
    Get games or lose it I say.
    At least Sony are investing in games.

    #34 3 years ago
  35. Gurdil

    @22 Now that’s weird because you stated the answer to your question in your comment. We (the EU dumb people, y’know? complainers and all that…) get access to next to nothing with LIVE. We get the gaming services, which can be nice if you like FPSes and some other MP games, and… that’s it! Well I hear in the UK they have some stuff too, but still. I honestly think it’s a good deal in the US because it gives you access to NetFlix and all. It really turns your console in a media hub or w/e, so that can be cool. But, again, Euros pay the equivalent of the US LIVE fee for just one feature!
    I think that’s why euros don’t like the LIVE fee system. At least that’s why I don’t pay for it: it’s just not worth it (well especially since I’m not fond of FPSes)

    Back to topic: I have nothing against adding more media features to the Xbox but I’m really afraid they forget it’s a games console too. Note that I didn’t even say “first” lol

    #35 3 years ago
  36. Len

    So no one thinks they might freak us all out and announce the 360 successor…?

    I don’t think I do either but would be interesting to say the least. More like confirm the $100 price drop and lots of Kinect stuff.

    #36 3 years ago