Santa Monica, Calif. — During the recent rollout of the next generation of gaming consoles, Microsoft differentiated itself from competitors by broadening its approach, transforming the Xbox from a gaming platform to a more general entertainment device.
Speaking with moderator and Multichannel News Technology Editor Jeff Baumgartner at the Next TV Summit & Expo Tuesday Lydia Antonini, senior VP of creative for Xbox Entertainment Studios, explained that the company’s increased focus on narrative content was a natural response to consumer activity.
“We have over 48 million Xbox users that connect live through our platform globally,” said Antonini. “That’s a pretty big number of people plugged in, and we know what they’re doing.”
By monitoring activity on the Xbox 360, Microsoft found its users to be regularly viewing content through third-party apps such as Netflix and Hulu. Current users aren't just using the system; they're investing hours into games and other forms of content each day.
“One of our recent stats is the average Xbox user is on the platform experiencing gaming and entertainment experiences for over 5 hours a day,” said Antonini.
With the establishment of Xbox Entertainment Studios a year and a half ago, the company plans to offer its large, engaged audience original television content that aligns with their brand.
One of the first shows spearheaded by Antonini and her team was Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, a live-action series based on the popular video game franchise. The studio is currently in co-production with the UK’s Channel 4 on a sci-fi drama called Humans, which is expected to be available next year. They’re also developing a pilot with the comedy collective JASH, which will likely be a variety show featuring up-and-coming comedians.