Microsoft announced today that three additional content partnerships are now available for the Xbox 360, including HBO Go, Xfinity TV (Comcast), and MLB.TV. That adds to a growing list of video and music options for Microsoft’s home entertainment gateway, also known as the Xbox 360 game console.
Microsoft’s intent has always been to transform the Xbox from a game console into an entertainment device fitting of the living room, not the basement or kid’s room. That transformation is virtually complete, now that Microsoft revealed that over half of the 84 hours its Xbox Live users spend with Xbox is for video and music consumption, not gaming. Can you still call it a game console?
Microsoft now has agreements with many major video service providers including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon that in effect, turn the Xbox game console into a set-top-box (with limitations). Add the OTT content availability from Netflix, Hulu, and others and you begin to see the Xbox 360 for what it truly has become – an entertainment gateway for the entire home. Xbox has sold 60 million Xbox 360s, and has more than 40 million Xbox Live users. You must be an Xbox Live user, to the tune of $60 per year, to access much of this entertainment content
The Xbox 360 has a while to go before it can become a mainstream standalone entertainment gateway though. There are byzantine rules regarding the consumption of video. For example HBO Go is not available on the Xbox if you are a Time Warner Cable Subscriber. To get Xfinity TV on the Xbox, you have to subscribe to both Xfinity TV and Xfinity broadband (not to mention Xbox Live).