Microsoft Doubles Down on TV with New Xbox One  - Broadcasting & Cable

Microsoft Doubles Down on TV with New Xbox One 

Announces alliance with NFL and plans for Halo TV series as part of the unveiling of its next generation gaming console
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As part of the announcement of Microsoft's
next generation gaming console the Xbox One, the company highlighted the new
consoles ability to transform the way TV is viewed and the devices ability to
tightly integrate all of a user's entertainment, gaming and TV experiences.

"TV
becomes more intelligent," noted Don Mattrick, president of interactive
entertainment at Microsoft during the lavishly produced announcement. "All
entertainment comes alive in one place."

During
the event, the company showcased some details about a significantly redesigned
Xbox architecture and operating system; major upgrades to its voice and gesture
control and a much more powerful cloud based Xbox Live offering for accessing a
wide variety of entertainment and content.

The
company also announced a major alliance with the NFL for exclusive content and
features for Xbox One that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said would allow fans
"to experience the games in a way that they never had before."

In
addition, Nancy Tellem, who was hired last year at president of the company's
Entertainment and Digital Media division, announced that they were working with
343 Industries and Steven Spielberg to create a TV series based on the popular
game "Halo."

In
a video, Spielberg noted that gaming had opened up new ways of telling stories
and said that "the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity where tech and
mythmaking meet to produce something really exciting."

The
emphasis on improving the living room experience and TV comes at a time when
console gaming industry is facing increased competition from smart phones and
tablets. In recent years that has prompted Microsoft to place more emphasis on
the consoles use for accessing entertainment and video from their consoles.

As
part of that effort, the new box will allow users to easy switch between live
TV and games, web browsing, Skype phone calls and other activities.

It
also features much improved gesture and voice control and for the first time
will have a Blu Ray disc player.

Microsoft
announced that the console will be available later this year but provided no
details on an exact launch date, pricing or some key tech features, such as the
processor that the box will use.

The NFL agreement will include rights, sponsorship and technology partnerships.

Microsoft gets rights to create exclusive interactive experiences for such products as Xbox One and its tablet Surface.

These will include a new fantasy football offering that will allow fans to view players and live competition side by side on a single TV screen and a personalized NFL destination.

At the same time, the agreement gives NFL teams, coaches and players access to a variety of Microsoft technologies, including Surface tablets for communications, photo viewing and play calling.

"From the use of instant replay to the yellow first-down line that has become an important element of the at-home television viewing experience, the NFL is committed to leveraging technolog to improve our game for coaches, players and fans," said Goodell in a statement. "We're thrilled to be teaming with a true innovator like Microsoft to shape the future of the NFL game experience, both on-field and in the living room."

In terms of sponsorships "Surface by Microsoft" branding will also appear on NFL sidelines and the Xbox remains "The Official Game Console of the NFL." It will also become "The Official Interactive Video Entertainment Console."

In addition, Microsoft is "The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL."

Further
details are expected to be unveiled during the upcoming E3 gaming show.

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