In an effort to transform the television experience, Microsoft has struck deals with nearly 40 entertainment providers to start injecting more media into their gaming platform.
The full list of companies that Microsoft has forged alliances with is a veritable Who’s Who of the entertainment industry. Here’s a quick breakdown of Microsoft’s new stateside “entertainment partners,” and what we know about their new Xbox offerings.
- Comcast: Sorry live TV buffs, Comcast is only bringing access to Xfinity On Demand this year.
- Clear Channel: iHeartRadio will be the only digital radio service on Xbox Live, complete with Kinect support.
- HBO: A new version of the HBO GO application and its associated content catalog should soon make an appearance on the Xbox.
- NBC Universal: Content from a handful of NBCU properties will end up on the Xbox, including Bravo and SyFy shows. Oh, and who could forget The Today Show?
- Manga Entertainment: Still unknown, but you otaku can probably expect a catalog of streaming anime in the near future.
- Crackle: Expect to get access to Crackle’s backlog of movies distributed by parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment.
- EPIX: Unknown, but I’d expect the MGM/Lionsgate/Paramount company to provide on-demand access to their catalog a la Comcast.
- TMZ: No details yet, but episode of the eponymous show will likely be made available for streaming.
- UFC: Fans got a sneak peek of UFC video on the Xbox back in June — in addition to streaming fights, it’s also expected to bring some degree of interactivity to the mix.
- Verizon: 26 channels from the Verizon FiOS lineup will begin to air live to the Xbox 360 in time for the holidays.
These companies join Microsoft’s existing line up of partners, like AT&T, ESPN, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. International readers shouldn’t fret at the sight of all this US content, because Microsoft has also struck agreements with more worldly sources of entertainment like the BBC (UK), Canal+ (France/Spain), MediaSet (Italy), and SBS On Demand (Australia). Check out the full list here to see if your favorite international media outlet made the cut.
In truth, a lot of the particulars are still up in the air at this point, but one thing is clear: Microsoft is dead serious about making the Xbox 360 the platform to beat.