Highlighting much of the Xbox press conference were the entertainment additions. Xbox started off with an extended Halo 4 gameplay trailer, but eventually gravitated towards what makes the Xbox 360 an entertainment device. The big announcement focused on SmartGlass, though there were a number of other nice additions set to hit the Xbox this year.
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As if more programming choices and advanced searching wasn’t enough, Xbox is bringing to the console what so many of us have desired for what seems like forever, Web Access.
That’s right, Xbox will now have complete and full access to the internet through Internet Explorer on the Xbox. This leap forward puts Xbox on the front lines and, if they hit the mark, will put the other consoles to shame in terms of a complete home entertainment device. We need to see more from this new feature and hope that our expectations are met if not exceeded.
Release date for Web Access is set for later this year, Fall 2012.
Starting this fall, Xbox will bring more advanced and intuitive search for entertainment. Through the power of Kinect and voice recognition, Xbox owners can search via genre and title for movies and television shows.
Pre-existing subscriptions will be integrated into voice search. Bing will search through the different subscription services that owners are a part of whether it be Netflix, Amazon Video or other service. In addition, 12 new countries will be added to the Xbox voice recognition library in order to reach more users who speak many different languages.
Xbox is adding a number of new channels to its library. Over 35 new channels are being added including, NBA GameTime & League Pass, NHL Gamecenter, Nickleodeon, Paramount Movies and ESPN 24 hour live broadcasting (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 & ESPNU).
Sports is a huge draw on any content delivery system and with the addition of the NHL and NBA, Xbox is extending their mainstream reach. ESPN shows will include the popular Sportscenter along with other popular programs which means a large step forward for streaming content.
Xbox Music will deliver over 30 million tracks on the Xbox 360, Windows 8 tablets, phones and PCs. The presentation was put together very well and the entire concept looks and sounds great. The delivery will be what defines success or failure. Microsoft is not alone in this venture either. Well established competition from iTunes and Amazon as well as more recently Google Play make this endeavor an uphill climb for any music service.
We believe success of the music service will hinge greatly on Microsoft’s ability to deliver on the other entertainment enhancements on the Xbox. If everything else works and is an enjoyable experience, then music will fall in line.
Here’s a video summary of Microsoft’s E3 2012 press conference on the entertainment portion of the Xbox 360:
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