+ US: December 6, 2011
+ EU: December 6, 2011
PLATFORM: Xbox LIVE
EXCLUSIVELY ON: Xbox LIVE
AVAILABLE @ AMAZON: n/a
PUBLISHER: Microsoft Xbox 360
DEVELOPER: Microsoft Xbox 360
ESRB: RP for Rating Pending
XboxViewTV on FACEBOOK
XboxViewTV ON TWITTER
This is just a first, relatively small segment of “The future of TV” strategy by Microsoft which is described on Microsoft Mediaroom for you site as:
… get the best live, recorded, and on demand programming wherever you are—whether you’re on your PC, on the go with a mobile phone, or in front of the big screen TV in your living room. Let Mediaroom amplify your passion for TV by offering more innovative options for watching, discovering and sharing what you like most.
Xbox and TV — together
Get TV on your phone!
My PC is my TV
Here’s a familiar situation: you’ve recorded your favorite show in the living room, but you want to watch it in the bedroom. What to do? When you subscribe to a Mediaroom-powered TV service, you’ll get features like DVR Anywhere which lets you watch and share your DVR recordings on any TV in your home. These same recordings are also available to download, watch and share across your PC and mobile phone so you not only get to watch what you want, you can watch it where you want.
- Record up to four shows in HD at once
- Start or restart programs from any room in the house
- Browse channel listings quickly
- Discover new content easily
There is no information yet, however, about the platform on which these content partner applications are developed. The latest hint is in Mediaroom_for_Xbox_VPAT.docx [July 18, 2011 – made downloadable on the Microsoft site on Sept 9, 2011] which says:
The Mediaroom for Xbox is based on Microsoft Mediaroom Client 2.0. Much of the existing Mediaroom Client 2.0 functionality is unchanged in Mediaroom for Xbox.
A same time, pure rumor based information about Mediaroom says:
Microsoft is believed to be merging its Mediaroom IPTV platform with Xbox Live via a project that is codenamed Orapa. Orapa was supposed to be released to manufacturing this summer in time for Mediaroom operators to roll it out to customers by holiday 2011. I had heard the following components figured into this new platform:
Rome = Mediaroom for Windows Phone
Taos = Silverlight for Mediaroom
Monaco = Mediaroom for Media Center
Santa Fe = Settop box using Silverlight/running Mediaroom
Ventura= Music and video discovery/consumption services (related to Zune)
In a September 4 blog post on Mediaroom 2.0’s single-sign-on functionality, Microsoft employee William Zhang publicly acknowledged the Taos, Monaco and Rome codenames. He described Rome as a “Windows Mobile Client,”, Taos as a “PC browser client” and Monaco as a “Windows Media Center Client.” He mentioned the existence of the Mediaroom 2.0 set-top-box (STB), but didn’t mention its codename. He didn’t reference Ventura at all in his post.
Interestingly, Zhang also doesn’t mention the word “Silverlight” at all in the body text of his post. making me wonder if the Taos “PC browser client” is an HTML5 client or if it is still somehow related to Silverlight — as in a Silverlight plug-in for an Internet Explorer-based client. Last year, Microsoft execs said that the company was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox 360 platform, though they’ve said nothing for months about this. (Update: As reader “bowmanir” commented, there is, indeed a mention of the Monaco Silverlight client in the caption of one of Zhang’s screen shots.)
The latest, unofficial information is Microsoft readies Silverlight for Xbox Live update [GigaOM, Oct 7, 2011]
Microsoft is about a month and a half away from releasing an update to its Xbox Live experience, which will add a bunch of new partner apps from the likes of Comcast, Verizon and HBO, among others. But the code that those apps will run on, which is based on a modified version of its Silverlight development framework, is still being modified in the run-up to release.
We’ve confirmed that the apps expected to be added with the next major update to Xbox Live will be based on Silverlight — at least to a point. The framework they’re being built on is code-named Lakeview, which is essentially a prettied up version of Silverlight with new features like Xbox Kinect’s voice recognition and gesture control. Surprisingly enough, partners are not using Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming for video delivery but have chosen to use H.264-encoded video with Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)instead.
Microsoft is targeting a Black Friday release of the Xbox Live update, according to sources, which would add the new video apps and features like Bing universal search. That could help build demand for Xbox sales over the holidays and will give existing Xbox Live members cool new toys to play with on their day off after Thanksgiving. The Lakeview code is still being modified, however, as Microsoft is still issuing weekly updates to the application framework.
It’s not just little things that are changing in the code, either. Sources say Microsoft has made fundamental additions and subtractions to Lakeview’s capabilities over the past several weeks, causing partners to update and retest their apps with each new release. The goal is to quickly mature the platform, with the potential of enabling other third-party developers to eventually use the Lakeview framework to build their own apps for the Xbox 360 console.
That could be one reason that Microsoft has remained mum on its implementation of Silverlight on the Xbox.
A New Way to Enjoy TV Entertainment [Marc Whitten, Corporate Vice President, Xbox LIVE, Dec 4, 2011]
The update is another huge step toward realizing our vision of bringing you all your entertainment, shared with the people you care about, in an easy way. That journey started with games, and quickly included movies and TV on Xbox LIVE through our own video service and through partners. We were the first console to bring Netflix into the living room, and we’ve continued to add top TV and entertainment partners on a global scale such as AT&T, ESPN, Hulu Plus and Last.fm in the U.S.; TELUS in Canada, BSkyB in the United Kingdom; CANAL+ in France and FOXTEL in Australia. Also, we recently announced another 40 global entertainment partners coming to Xbox LIVE.
Instantly watch thousands of HD movies and TV shows from Netflix. Easily search for new movies by title or genre. Use Kinect for Xbox 360 to play, pause and rewind with the wave of a hand or the sound of your voice.
Today, we have more than 57 million Xbox 360 consoles in homes across the world, and more than 35 million of those are connected to Xbox LIVE, a service which sees its members log cumulatively 2.1 billion hours a month. We have something very special in the living room, and with our latest update to Xbox LIVE, it only gets better.
Now, all of your entertainment is in one place. Games, music, movies, sports and live and on-demand TV together in one box connected to the best display in your house. With our latest update, we are launching the first wave of new entertainment experiencesand we will continue to add customized entertainment apps over time.
We’re also making it easier to find the entertainment you want. The entertainment offerings on Xbox LIVE have grown from hundreds to millions, but finding what you want has never been easier. With Kinect for Xbox 360 and the power of Bing, “You say it, Xbox finds it”.
And we’re making the entertainment experience more personal and social. Whether you are voting on who is going to win the weekend’s biggest college football showdown on ESPN or activating a beacon to notify your friends of your favorite multiplayer games, entertainment is more personal and social on Xbox LIVE.
It’s a great time to be on Xbox LIVE. We have a powerful platform with voice and gesture control, a great collection of top-tier entertainment partners from across the globe, and powerful social tools. The experiences are real, and we are excited to share them with you starting this week.
I will see you on Xbox LIVE!
Posted by Marc Whitten
Corporate Vice President, Xbox LIVE
The Future of Living Room Entertainment [Broll, Dec 4, 2011]
The Future of TV Begins Now on Xbox 360 [press release, Dec 4, 2011]
Kinect for Xbox 360 brings voice control to living room entertainment with update that launches Dec. 6.
A revolution is happening in the living room. Xbox 360 is transforming how you enjoy TV entertainment and is giving you the power to control it with your voice. The next generation of TV entertainment begins with the announcement by Microsoft Corp. of the launch of an all-new Xbox 360 experience including the first group of new, custom applications from world leading TV and entertainment content providerson Xbox LIVE.
“A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.”
“Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search. This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research in “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,”*Sunday, Dec. 4. “…with more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”
You Say It, Xbox Finds It
How long does it take you to search and find your favorite movie or TV show? Do you find yourself searching hundreds of channels and multiple services and TV inputs? What if the entertainment you craved was simple, discoverable and exactly what you wanted at that particular moment?
Now, finding your favorite entertainment is easier than ever. Last year, Kinect for Xbox 360 revolutionized controller-free entertainment by letting you use your body and voice to play your favorite games and entertainment, turning you into the controller. The power of Kinect combined with the intelligence of Bing search is turning your voice into the ultimate remote control. With Bing on Xbox, you can use your voice to effortlessly find the games, movies, TV shows and music you want and discover the best offerings on Xbox LIVE, by simply saying what you’re searching for. You say it, Xbox finds it. Beginning tomorrow and over the coming weeks, Bing on Xbox voice search will initially be available in English in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for Zune video, Xbox LIVE Marketplace and select content partners. For those who do not have a Kinect for Xbox 360, text search will be available in Xbox LIVE markets.
Use your voice to pause and rewind movies and TV shows. Plus, say what you want to watch and Xbox finds it with voice search powered by Bing.
All Your Entertainment, All in One Box
This holiday, in addition to offering the best blockbuster and Kinect games, Xbox 360 consoles are set to deliver live and on-demand TV shows, movies, videos, sports, music and news, becoming the best device to experience all your entertainment. TV and movie fans can instantly stream their favorite episodes of current television shows all season long, as well as past favorites and new-release movies.
Xbox 360 is building on its expansive catalog of movies, sports, television and music available through Hulu Plus, Last.fm, Netflix, Zune music and video and ESPN®, as well as on its existing lineup of great TV providers, such as AT&T U-verse® TV in the U.S., TELUS in Canada, BSkyB in the U.K., CANAL+ in France, Vodafone Portugal, VimpelCom in Russia and FOXTEL in Australia, by also now rolling out the following new entertainment partners and apps**:
- EPIX. United States
- ESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN).United States
- Hulu Plus.United States
- LOVEFiLM.United Kingdom
- Netflix.Canada, United States
- Premium Play by (MediaSet).Italy
- Sky Go (SkyDE). Germany
- Telefónica España – Movistar Imagenio.Spain
- TODAY (MSNBC). United States
Later in December:
- 4 on Demand (C4).United Kingdom
- ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.).Australia
- AlloCiné. France (AlloCiné), Germany (Filmstarts), Spain (Sensacine), United Kingdom (Screenrush)
- Astral Media’s Disney 😄 (Astral Media).Canada
- blinkbox (Blinkbox).United Kingdom
- Crackle (Sony Pictures).Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States
- Dailymotion. Available in 32 countries globally
- Demand 5 (Five).United Kingdom
- DIGI+ (CANAL+).Spain
- GolTV (Mediapro).Spain
- iHeartRadio (Clear Channel).United States
- Mediathek/ZDF (ZDF).Germany
- MSN. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom
- MSNBC.com.United States
- MUZU.TV. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
- Real Sports (Maple Leaf Sports).Canada
- Rogers On Demand Online (Rogers Media).Canada
- SBS ON DEMAND.Australia
- Sky Go (SkyDE). Austria
- TMZ (Warner Bros.).Canada, United States
- TVE (RTVE.es).Spain
- UFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC).Canada, United States
- Verizon FiOS TV.United States
- VEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
- Vudu (Wal-Mart).United States
- YouTube. Available in 24 countries globally
- Antena 3 (Antena 3 de Televisión).Spain
- BBC (BBC).United Kingdom
- CinemaNow (Best Buy).United States
- HBO GO (HBO).United States
- MLB.TV (MLB Advanced Media).Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
- Telenovelas/Sports (Televisa).Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom
- Xfinity On Demand (Comcast). United States
In October, nearly 40 leading TV and entertainment providers around the world announced they would bring customized, voice-controlled experiences to Xbox 360 systems. Today, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, and VUDU became the latest leading entertainment providers to announce they are bringing their experiences to Xbox 360 consoles. MLB.TV subscribers will be able to access every regular season game, live and on-demand, in HD picture quality with an array of interactive functionalities. VUDU offers more than 45,000 blockbusters, Hollywood classics, independent films and TV shows, including the largest library of HD content available anywhere, with the highest quality streaming and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. With VUDU, movies are available the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. More information is available at http://www.VUDU.com.
Whether choosing the movie you want to watch or the service you want to watch it from, the best entertainment platform gives you a variety of options. Not only is Microsoft bringing all your entertainment and entertainment services to Xbox 360 consoles, it is giving you multiple choices in how you interact with that content, including your voice, your controller and now your Windows Phone. Starting Dec. 6, the free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phonewill let you find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a premier home entertainment and video game system. Thanks to the addition of Kinect, Xbox 360 has transformed social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. Xbox 360 is also home to the best and broadest games as well as one of the world’s largest on-demand libraries of music, standard- and high-definition movies, TV shows and digital games, all in one place. The entertainment center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with a leading social entertainment network of more than 35 million Xbox LIVE members to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. More information about Xbox 360 can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.
About Xbox LIVE
Xbox LIVE is the online entertainment service for your Xbox 360, connecting you to an ever-expanding world of games, movies, TV, music, sports and social entertainment. Xbox LIVE lets you play the best games, enjoy one of the world’s largest on-demand libraries on any console, listen to millions of songs and share the fun with friends around the world. Xbox LIVE is also the exclusive home of controller-free online entertainment through Kinect, making your Xbox 360 more intuitive and interactive than ever before. With an active community of more than 35 million people across 35 countries, Xbox LIVE, together with Xbox 360, provides you with instant access to the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, wherever you are. More information about Xbox LIVE can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/live.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
* “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,” Sunday, Dec. 4, Forrester Research, http://blogs.forrester.com/james_mcquivey/11-12-04-introducing_engaged_tv_xbox_360_leads_the_way_to_a_new_video_product_experience
** Schedule subject to change. Available features and content subject to change. Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required. Kinect functionality available with select Xbox LIVE content and varies by feature and country. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.
For assets, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/xbox.
Xbox Companion for Windows Phone coming December 6th [Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson, Dec 4, 2011]
If you read the press release put out earlier today, you probably saw the huge list of partners coming soon to Xbox 360 and may have missed the paragraph about the Xbox Companion app coming this week, so I wanted to share a few more details about it.
Starting this Tuesday, Dec. 6, the free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let you find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
This Xbox Companion app will have some cool new features to use with your Xbox 360including:
Xbox Companion search powered by Bing. Search the unified Xbox catalogfor movies, TV shows, music, games and apps using the Windows phone. View a detailed unified results page across all content providers. You can see recently played games and apps and browse the Zune video catalog
Using the Xbox Companion app you can learn more details about the movie, TV show, music or game that is playing on your console. You can also get friend activity (friends online, friends with beacons, friends who have recently played), achievements and related items. You’ll also be able to select a search result, and launcha movie, TV show, game or app on the connected console as well as play, pause, fw, rw the playing video or music on the connected Xbox,initiate media purchase and navigate your Xbox console with Windows Phone using the Xbox Companion.
The Xbox Companion is a free app that launches on Tuesday, December 6th exclusively on Windows Phone. See the screen shots here.
Kinect Effect B-Roll [Oct 31, 2011]
Say Hello to a ‘Game Changing’ Xbox Experience [press release, Dec 6, 2011]
After a long day at work, you plop down on the couch with your favorite beverage and put your feet up to unwind with the evening news, or maybe last night’s episode of your favorite show.
Not bothering to search the couch cushions for the remote, you give your Kinect sensor a little wave, bringing your Xbox to life.
“Xbox, Bing: The Office,” you say, and by the time you take a sip, the episode is ready to watch. You tell Xbox to play, and it does. Then you tell Xbox to pause while you walk to the kitchen to check on dinner, and it does.
This is not a scene from an episode of “Star Trek” – it’s the all-new Xbox LIVE.
This morning, Microsoft launched a free update that “revolutionizes” digital entertainment, putting all your movies, TV shows, music, sports and other types of entertainment in one box. The update also brings voice control to your Xbox experience, and with the simplicity of Kinect and the intelligence of Bing voice search. That’s just the beginning – the update also includes a complete dashboard redesign, a bevy of new content from partners around the world, and a variety of new social features and parental controls.
The Xbox LIVE update also features cloud-powered saves so users can roam across consoles and take their content with them, new family content controls for parents, and “beacons” that alert users when a friend would like to play a game. Now when your son tells you he can’t come home from his friend’s house because he needs to finish his “Forza Motorsport 4” race, you can tell him to save it, come home, and finish playing after dinner.
With Beacons, no matter what you’re currently doing on Xbox LIVE, your friends know that it’s OK to ask you to play games with which you set a Beacon.
“It’s a major evolutionary step forward – people are going to feel like they’re getting a whole new Xbox 360,” said Emma Williams, general manager of Xbox Experiences for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.
The update – the first in a series of enhancements coming to Microsoft’s entertainment service – makes it easier and more natural than ever for people to interact with Xbox, Williams said. The update also substantially expands Xbox’s entertainment experiences for the living room. While Xbox LIVE is fundamentally the same entertainment service that 35 million subscribers and counting have come to know and love, the service has changed from top to bottom.
The Xbox “dashboard” has been completely redesigned (in the Metro style made popular by Windows Phone), Williams said. Using Kinect, Xbox users will be able to use gestures and their voice to navigate through their entertainment. Add to that the ability to use Bing’s voice search capabilities, and finding content in Xbox LIVE’s burgeoning library of entertainment is as easy as saying “Xbox, Bing: Grey’s Anatomy.”
Say Hello to TV
Xbox LIVE is also giving its entertainment offerings a major enhancement by expanding current partnerships as well as building new partnerships with more than 40 leading TV, movie, sports and entertainment providers worldwide.
What that means is many TV subscribers will enjoy being able to watch their favorite channels live on Xbox, including customers of Verizon’s FiOS digital television service in the United States.
“We think there’s going to be a lot of interest around this,” said Pete Castleton, executive director of corporate marketing at Verizon. “It’s a new way to interact with live television, and Xbox LIVE is an ideal platform to manage gesture and voice interaction. We have a compelling content lineup that aligns with the Xbox LIVE community.”
Verizon will offer a selection of popular live television channels to its customers via Xbox LIVE, including MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, Cartoon Network and Cinemax.
Integrating Verizon’s traditional digital television service with Xbox LIVE’s innovative capabilities takes the power of both and creates something new and exciting that reaches beyond what either offers on its own, he said.
“I think it’s exactly what customers are looking for,” Castleton said.
AT&T U-verse TV is a leading TV provider that is already delivering live TV, Total Home DVR recordings, interactive apps and more to the Xbox. As the first TV provider in the U.S. to launch live TV on Xbox 360, AT&T also plans to use Kinect to transform how its customers can interact with its TV service.
“Enabling U-verse TV customers to use voice and gesture controls to manage their TV experience will unleash a new wave of interaction with our service,” said Jeff Weber, vice president of video services, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Xbox is a key part of AT&T’s multi-screen strategy for TV entertainment, and our work with Microsoft to take full advantage of Kinect in the living room will bring more personalization, more control, and an even better TV experience to homes across the country.”
Marcien Jenckes, senior vice president and general manager of video and entertainment services for Comcast, called the Xbox LIVE update “compelling.”
“Comcast is thrilled to be bringing its on-demand television and movie offerings (the largest selection in the industry) to Xbox LIVE,” he said. “We’ve made huge strides over the last five years to realize our vision of making every movie and TV show available to our customers when and where they want it. The great thing about this initiative is that we’re delivering a great combination of the video entertainment our customers love, with the Xbox LIVE experience they enjoy.”
Williams said the update will make Xbox LIVE better equipped than ever to deliver what users want, whether it’s live television, movies, music, sports, social connections, or the platform’s growing diversity of video games (from hardcore gaming to casual, family-friendly Kinect games).
All the new content and the new natural user interface capabilities combined will set Xbox LIVE apart from all other entertainment services in the field, according to Williams.
“It’s radically different from what people are used to today, and from anything else in the industry,” Williams said. “No single device has put all the entertainment people want in the living room in one place like this, or delivered it in such a fun way where people can connect in a relaxed way with a gesture or the power of their own voice.”
‘A Game Changer’
Gesturing and talking to a device. Having a broad universe of content available at your fingertips, or called up at the sound of your voice – these experiences were once science fiction, available only to the likes of James T. Kirk on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. The Xbox LIVE update makes experiences once considered “futuristic” available in every living room to anyone with an Xbox and a Kinect.
“Science fiction has become science fact,” Williams said.
Xbox LIVE users without the Kinect device will still be able to enjoy the updated user interface, but the controller-free device adds to the experience, she said.
Pete Distad, vice president of marketing and distribution at Hulu, said Hulu Plus has updated its interface to “synchronize and optimize” with the new Xbox dashboard.
“Thanks to the magic of Kinect, you become the controller and can play, pause, fast forward, rewind and search for TV shows and movies with the sound of your voice or the wave of your hand,” Distad said. “You can also use your voice to find and discover Hulu Plus content on Bing.”
Hulu Plus now has more than 1 million paid subscribers who stream current episodes of popular television shows such as “Glee” and “Family Guy” and full back seasons of TV series such as “Lost” and “Battlestar Galactica” as well as hundreds of movies.
“Our goal is to be everywhere, on every device where people want to watch TV,” Distad said. “We see a lot of consumption of content in the living room on TVs through Internet-connected gaming consoles, so it makes perfect sense to partner with the talented teams at Microsoft and Xbox to reach a broader audience and innovate ways to watch TV when, where and how our customers want.”
Choose from thousands of Hollywood hit movies like “Iron Man 2,” “True Grit” and “The Lincoln Lawyer” to stream instantly on Xbox LIVE.
Mark Greenberg agrees. He is the CEO of EPIX, a premium U.S. television channel owned by Viacom and its Paramont Pictures unit, MGM, and Lionsgate. EPIX, soon to be available on Xbox LIVE, has more than 3,000 movies, concerts, comedy shows, boxing and mixed-martial arts offerings available on-demand to its subscribers. They’ll be able to watch popular movies like “Rango,” “Star Trek,” “Iron Man,” “Thor” and many more, all in high definition on the Xbox LIVE service.
“I think it’s extraordinarily cool what Microsoft has created,” Greenberg said. “And the cool factor is just as strong as the functionality.”
Greenberg said gesture and voice-controlled entertainment in the living room could be a “game changer” akin to TiVo, which revolutionized the television viewing experience almost a decade ago with its ability to record and pause programs without having to pop in a VCR tape.
“I think this is an opportunity for all of us,” he said. “It’s definitely a sea change.”
Building an Entertainment Hub
The notion of adding the major updates that became available on Xbox LIVE today grew out of the launch of Kinect last year – when Microsoft was looking to take Xbox’s strong gaming heritage, the exponential growth of Xbox consoles and Xbox LIVE subscribers, and the power of Kinect’s natural user interface to make Xbox a better entertainment hub for the living room, Williams said.
After the new Xbox LIVE was tested internally by about 4,000 employees worldwide, Microsoft had a public preview. The update was released to more than 65,000 customers, who updated their Xbox LIVE with changes each Friday for them to use over the weekend. The feedback provided by those employees and customers, as well as in Microsoft’s usability labs, helped make the final product what it is, Williams said.
The new Xbox LIVE connects people to each other – whether they’re in the same room or across the world from each other – and also connects them to the entertainment they love. Every Saturday, Williams wakes up and logs on to see what her nephews in London are up to, and using Xbox LIVE she’s able to chat with them, see what games they’re playing, and watch what shows they’re watching.
“It’s personal, and it’s magic, whether you’re five or 85 years old,” Williams said. “I am excited that we live in a world where there’s no need to learn a controller or to use a remote to change channels. People can feel passively relaxed, immersive entertained, and actively engaged, and it’s super simple and fun.”