Continuing our pre-E3 coverage, we have news that Microsoft has been making some pretty large claims regarding the future of its Xbox 360 console as an entertainment platform.
As we found out earlier this year, despite the rumours there will be no “Xbox 720”, “Ybox” or “Durango” making an appearance in Los Angeles next week, but Microsoft certainly has big plans for its current hardware. We expect big things for the Kinect motion sensing accessory and the focus today is on expanding the ever growing multimedia content provided by the Xbox LIVE service to “beyond the box”.
Already it’s been noted that Xbox 360 usage, particularly in the United States is now more dominated by entertainment apps such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer than by the multiplayer online gaming which once was the key to the Xbox LIVE network’s popularity. It seems more people just want to sit down and enjoy the streaming content than to battle against mates on titles such as Call of Duty Black Ops and Battlefield 3.
This proves these great services need not be contained to just the Microsoft console. And this sentiment is shared by the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Yusef Mehdi who states in a blog post that “To date, our success with Xbox has been led by a box in the living room. Moving forward, Xbox will go beyond the box to reach all new families of devices. Just as Xbox has grown to mean more than just games, it also is more than just a console. This year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft.”
Recently Xbox LIVE services have appeared on Windows Phone 7 gadgets and with a new version of the widely used desktop OS just over the horizon Microsoft are keen to get these popular entertainment resources out to every possible platform. Mehdi continues to say “We understand that entertainment has become a multi-screen experience where you and your friends are watching TV, listening to music, and playing games while interacting with your tablets and phones in new ways. We’ve got ideas for making all the entertainment you love more personal, interactive and social across the devices you love – and on the phenomenal Windows 8 devices that are to come.”
A multi-platform Xbox LIVE experience which breaks out of the restrictions of the humble Xbox console would be a truly innovative move. Despite apparently having no new hardware to show off next week, the Gadget Helpline is really looking forward to Microsoft’s presentations.