Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Xbox Makes Entertainment More Amazing On Phone, PC, Tablet And TV; Adds Nickelodeon USA (North American Xbox 360 Users Only)

Below is a Microsoft Xbox 360 Press Release from PRNewswire:
Xbox Makes Entertainment More Amazing on Phone, PC, Tablet and TV

Xbox SmartGlass will deliver new ways to enjoy entertainment in the home and on the go.

LOS ANGELES, June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger? What if you could use your tablet to draw up a play in EA SPORTS' "Madden NFL" and then perform it to perfection on your TV? What if you could control your favorite websites on the TV with a simple swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet's touchscreen?

(Microsoft Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO)

To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a bold new vision for enjoying entertainment at home and on the go with Xbox SmartGlass. Launching this year, Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.(1) The intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass makes your entertainment more engaging, Web surfing more effortless, and playing games more immersive by delivering companion content and control to enhance your TV experience.

"Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing," said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. "With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox."

Two years after the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft unveiled the next step in its journey to make Xbox synonymous with entertainment by unveiling Xbox SmartGlass, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and new TV, movie and music offerings.

The Web Transformed for TV
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.(2) Whether it is a new website you want to check out on the big screen, an HD video you want to share in your living room, or your favorite website you check daily and want to view in the 10-foot experience, you will have the power of the Web now on your TV.

Entertainment Keeps Getting Better on Xbox
Last year, Xbox added voice search powered by Bing and the power of Kinect, making it easier to find the entertainment you want. This year, voice search is expanding to 12 additional countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from world-leading TV and entertainment providers, this year Xbox will continue to deliver all the content you care about in unique ways.

* Your home for sports. Microsoft announced more must-have sports experiences and content coming to Xbox this year, further establishing it as the home for sports fans everywhere.

* NBA Game Time with NBA.com League Pass Broadband (U.S.) and NBA League Pass (outside of the U.S.). Fans who subscribe to NBA.com League Pass Broadband will have access to hundreds of out of market live games (blackout restrictions apply in the U.S. and some international markets), plus highlights from around the league and up to the minute stats of your favorite players.

* NHL GameCenter LIVE™ (Worldwide except Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Hockey fans will be able to enjoy every moment of the live action as it happens on the ice, with live games (out of market and blackout restrictions apply), more in-game interactivity, and replays and highlights on demand any time.

* ESPN (U.S.). Later this year fans will enjoy 24/7 live programming through WatchESPN from ESPN Networks – ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U. All the favorites, including "SportsCenter," "SportsNation," "The Mike and Mike Show," as well as ESPN's coverage of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, will be live on Xbox.

Xbox also announced regional sports provider SPORT1 coming later this year to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

* More TV and entertainment. Today, Microsoft announced more than 35 new content partners launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, including:
* Absolute Radio – U.K.

* Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.

* BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.

* Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.

* Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden

* Corus Entertainment's Franklin the Turtle – Canada

* GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.

* Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

* Indie Flix – U.S.

* Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets

* Napster – Germany, U.K.

* Nickelodeon – U.S.

* Paramount Movies – U.S.

* Picturebox – U.K.

* Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand

* Rakuten ShowTime – Japan

* Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.

* Rhapsody – U.S.

* RTL XL – Netherlands

* Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.

* SnagFilms – U.S.

* Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico

* The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.

* The Weather Channel – U.S.

* The Whistle – U.S.

* TOU.TV – Canada

* TV3 – Spain

* Twitch TV – U.S.

* Univision – U.S.

* Wuaki – Spain

* Youzee – Spain

* Xbox Music revealed. Microsoft showed a sneak peek of Xbox Music, an all-new music service coming to Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8-based devices.

Xbox on Windows 8

This year Xbox will bring premium entertainment experiences to more than 180 new countries around the world when Xbox on Windows 8 launches, featuring four Metro-style apps: Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. (3)

With Xbox on Windows 8, you can play games with friends and earn achievements, listen to music, and enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies wherever you go.(4) And with Xbox SmartGlass, you can start a movie or TV show on your Windows 8 device and finish it on the big-screen TV.

About Xbox
Xbox is Microsoft's premier entertainment service for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. It's home to the best and broadest games, as well as one of the world's largest libraries of music, movies, TV and sports. With Kinect, Xbox 360 transformed gaming and entertainment in the living room with a whole new way to play games and find entertainment — no controller required. More information about Xbox can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

(1) Xbox SmartGlass is available with select games and Xbox LIVE content and requires Internet connectivity and compatible devices. Xbox LIVE Gold membership (sold separately) is also required for some Xbox SmartGlass-enabled content and features. Available Xbox SmartGlass features may vary by device. See http://xbox.com/live.
(2) Internet Explorer on Xbox requires Xbox LIVE Gold membership (sold separately).
(3) Available content and features vary across regions.
(4) Available content and features vary across devices. Games and media content sold separately.
Some information relates to pre-released product and services that may be substantially modified before commercial release. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here.

SOURCE Microsoft
Also, from Home Media Magazine:
Xbox 360 Gets Paramount Movies, Nickelodeon TV

Microsoft bows “SmartGlass” app connecting Xbox 360 with phones, PCs and tablets

Microsoft during the next 12 months will offer Xbox 360 owners direct access to Paramount catalog movies, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon TV programming in the United States, among other content.

Microsoft unveiled the content additions (among 35 new content partners globally) at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

The software giant made the announcement in conjunction with the launch of the Xbox Smartglass app, which allows users to listen to music, play video games and watch movies on a Windows 8-enabled portable media device (phone, laptop or tablet) and/or migrate the viewing to the TV in the home.

Paramount movies follow a strategic decision by corporate parent Viacom to mine incremental revenue from the studio’s catalog and select new releases globally across digital platforms.

The studio earlier this year rolled an ad-supported Paramount movie TV channel in Spain with plans to do the same in other countries going forward.

Other content holders added for Xbox Live members include: Absolute Radio — U.K.; Ameba TV — Canada, U.S.; BreakMedia — Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.; Comoyo — Denmark, Norway, Sweden; Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle — Canada; GameSpot TV — Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.; Headweb — Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden; Indie Flix — U.S.; Machinima — All Xbox Live markets; Napster — Germany, U.K.; Picturebox — U.K.; Quickflix — Australia, New Zealand; Rakuten ShowTime — Japan; Revision3 — Canada, U.K., U.S.; Rhapsody — U.S.; RTL XL — Netherlands; Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.; SnagFilms – U.S.; Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico; The AOL On Network — Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.; The Weather Channel — U.S.; The Whistle — U.S.; TOU.TV — Canada; TV3 — Spain; Twitch TV — U.S.; Univision — U.S.; Wuaki — Spain; and Youzee — Spain.

“With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way,” Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft, said in a statement.
Also, from Electronic Theatre:
Microsoft Pre-E3 2012 Press Conference: Old Friends, New Names & Branded Entertainment


Yusuf Medhi takes to the stage to introduce more efficient Kinect search on the Xbox 360 dashboard, and an expansion to new languages. The Spanish version is demonstrates live prior to the promise to double the entertainment ‘experiences’ offered via the Xbox 360 and Kinect. Four of the new thirty five promised are revealed – Nickelodeon, Paramount Movies, Machinima, Univision – only one of which is likely to make its way to the UK. As is potentially the case with the sports offering: following UFC and Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL will join the collection in addition to twenty four hour live broadcasts on ESPN.
You can read the full E3 news article here on the official Electronic Theatre website.Also, from The Huffington Post UK:
E3 2012: Microsoft Press Event (LIVEBLOG)

Entertainment & Bing Voice Search...

Some new features for Xbox entertainment are being trailed - including advanced voice search via Bing to find movies, TV shows and other content.

It's not the most amazing stuff, but cool if you find searching on Bing a real chore.

The Mexican version of this stuff is also shown. It's fairly impressive, as far as it goes.

Some new content partners are also announced - Nickelodeon, Machinima and Paramount Movies.

Microsoft announces the NBA and the NHL are coming to Xbox - nice for American fans. A trailer is shown of those American fans high-fiving. As they do.
Also, from Digital Spy:

E3 2012: Microsoft conference video stream and live blog

18:01 Microsoft plans to double the amount of entertainment providers! Nickelodeon, Paramount movies, Machinima for gamers and Univision are announced. Nice variety there.
You can read DigitalSpy.co.uk's 'E3 2012: Microsoft conference video stream and live blog' news article here on the official Digital Spy UK website.

Also from Digital Spy:
E3 2012: Microsoft expands Xbox Live

Microsoft has revealed plans to expand its Xbox Live service through a range of extensive partnerships.

Chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi announced that the platform will introduce 35 entertainment providers to improve its sports, movies and foreign language offerings.

ESPN is on board to bring its programming to Xbox Live subscribers around the clock. More than 40 NFL games will air each week, and an NBA League Pass will offer more than 2,400 games for a fee.

Movies from Viacom's Paramount studio, shows from Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc, and cartoons from Nickelodeon have also been added to the Xbox Live roster, as well as content from Machinima and Univision.

Microsoft has also improved the service's Kinect navigation via Bing Voice Search, which is being rolled out in numerous new territories. Users can now search for media by genre by uttering an audible command.

The company also announced that its Internet Explorer web browser is coming to the Xbox 360, and unveiled the SmartGlass as a means of integrating its content across tablets, smartphones and other connected devices.

Microsoft's Xbox Music streaming service was also outed during the presentation.

Read our live blog of Microsoft's E3 2012 conference.
Also, from PC Advisor:
Microsoft tries a reboot on the Xbox 360 as living room PC

With several announcements ranging from partnerships to new features, Microsoft eyes non-gamers

While it may have been the game trailers that drew cheers from the crowd at Microsoft's Xbox briefing in Los Angeles this week, the partnerships and new features that the company announced signal its intent to expand the console's role far beyond gaming.

"I absolutely think Microsoft is trying to build on its Xbox Live advantage and push more out from games," said IDC games analyst Lewis Ward. "Consoles are becoming like 'smart' set-top boxes but with a massive game delivery advantage."

Microsoft announced 35 content partners at E3 ranging from Nickelodeon for kids to Univision for Spanish speakers. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) will join Major League Baseball (MLB) in streaming games through the console. Sports fans will also be able to watch four different ESPN channels later this year.

To see some of the new features and content announced for Xbox, watch a video on YouTube.

Xbox will make content consumption different from traditional television viewing. For example, consumers could watch two basketball games simultaneously and using Kinect voice commands, switch between the two. With other voice commands, they could watch the games on full or split screens. Adding a social component to the games, fans can pick winners and share the picks with friends, which will appear in a carousel at the bottom of the screen.

Xbox SmartGlass is a new feature that will let users consume complementary content across multiple devices. For example, during the presentation Xbox Live vice president Marc Whitten demonstrated how a tablet could show additional information while watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. While watching the program on the big screen, the tablet showed a map of where the scene was taking place. In another demonstration, a gamer crafted a play on a tablet, then executed it on the television screen in Madden NFL.

SmartGlass will let users browse the Web using their smartphones as the controllers. Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer will come to Xbox, but didn't say whether other browsers would be supported. Nintendo and Sony have Web browsers, but navigating with a game controller and typing without a physical keyboard have made the browsers difficult to use.

"We'll see on the implementation of it, but I think the vision is interesting in that they can enable the Web browser hopefully in a more user-friendly way," said Ward. He thinks that Microsoft will debut its next-generation console at E3 next year.
"Partly what's going on with the SmartGlass announcement is that they're trying to pre-empt Wii U," said Ward, referring to Nintendo's next-generation console that will ship before the end of 2012.
Also, from Bloomberg:
Microsoft Add Football, Cartoons to Expand Xbox Platform

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) expanded the sports and entertainment content offered through the Xbox, adding shows like “Monday Night Football” to extend the life of its gaming console and step up competition with Sony Corp. (6758) and Nintendo Co.

The Xbox 360’s online service will gain 35 entertainment providers, Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment division, said today at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles. Microsoft also introduced an application called Xbox SmartGlass that will link the console to phones, tablets and personal computers from Microsoft and rivals.

Microsoft is seeking to turn Xbox into a home-entertainment system that lets consumers share programs and information with all their devices, both competing with and connecting to gadgets from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) Microsoft doesn’t plan to unveil a new console until next year at the earliest, people familiar with the matter said in March, so SmartGlass and the added programming will help refresh the Xbox amid competition from Sony’s PlayStation 3 and a new Nintendo console.

“It’s a smart move,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “It positions Xbox as the center of a personal cloud ecosystem while allowing consumers to preserve the value in their current hardware.” Customers will probably be able to use the SmartGlass app on existing iPads and iPhones, for example, Gartenberg said, citing a briefing from Microsoft.

SmartGlass App

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, will release SmartGlass this year, allowing content makers to create uses for the app. For example, HBO could use it to provide “Game of Thrones” information to a viewer’s tablet while he or she is watching, or Electronic Arts Inc. could let “Madden NFL” video-game players draw a new play for their running back on their phone and have the player execute it in the game, Mehdi said in an interview before the speech.

The app will also serve to provide additional uses for Windows Phones and Windows 8 tablets and PCs, scheduled to go on sale later this year.

The new content, games and programs serve to round out Microsoft’s vision of Xbox as entertainment hub, as Google and Apple try to market television products and Sony and Nintendo approach the market through their game consoles. Nintendo has already announced a new machine, the Wii U, set to go on sale later this year. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said today that Xbox is now the best-selling video-game machine worldwide.

Console Market

Microsoft has made market-share gains in a slumping U.S. video-game and console market. The company racked up more than 40 percent of U.S. console sales for 14 months straight through April, according to market researcher NPD Group Inc.

In that month, U.S. sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories tumbled 32 percent as consumer buying shifts to downloads and games on social sites, said Port Washington, New York-based NPD.

“At a time when entertainment is becoming more interactive, more fun, we are bringing together games, movies and television shows on every screen in our lives,” said Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment division, in a speech at E3.

Microsoft rose less than 1 percent to $28.55 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 10 percent this year.

Viacom, Univision

New content for Xbox Live, which has 40 million subscribers, will include Paramount films and Nickelodeon cartoons from Viacom Inc. (VIAB), shows from Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., 24-hour ESPN programming and National Basketball Association games.

NBA League Pass will be available on Xbox Live for a fee, giving customers more than 2,400 games, Mehdi said. A National Hockey League subscription package offers more than 40 games a week, he said.

Nike Inc. (NKE) will release a fitness game that uses Xbox and its Kinect sensor to scan a customer’s body -- it can even tell if the user has had knee surgery -- and recommends a workout plan. The Kinect will then track whether the user is doing the exercises correctly.

Microsoft today also demonstrated “Halo 4,” the next installment in best-selling Xbox-only game franchise, which is due to be available this fall.

In addition, the company showed an Xbox Music service that is a revamped version of its Zune offering. The service will offer 30 million tracks that can be accessed on any Microsoft device. The company will also offer an Internet Explorer browser for Xbox.