The system update, which is mandatory for all users who wish to connect to Xbox Live, brings over 3,500 live and on-demand sporting events per year to the system, courtesy of ESPN3. That partnership will also include scoreboards, voice chat and the ability to “predict the winner” of games via polls.
The update will also expand the presence of the Zune service on the console, with music streaming joining movie and TV episode downloads. (The service will require a separate subscription to the Zune music service.)
It’s all part of the walkup to the launch of Kinnect later this week. Microsoft is betting big on the motion control device to extend the life of the Xbox 360 as well as give it a competitive advantage over the PlayStation 3 and Wii.
To underscore the system’s appeal even to non-gamers, Microsoft has also tweaked its Netflix integration, adding search to the streaming service.