Granted, E3 is a video game trade show, but in between all the talk about Kinect and “Gears of War 3” at its pre-show press conference this year, expect Microsoft to have plenty to say about the non-gaming world.
The Xbox 360 has been a leader in general entertainment among the major consoles – but other devices, particularly Sony’s PlayStation 3, have been playing a good game of catch up. A recent statement by the company’s VP of corporate communications, however, indicates the company is hoping to ready to jump back out in front.
“[AT E3,] we’re continuing to deliver mind-blowing gaming experiences, and we are turning up the heat on a whole new era of home entertainment,” wrote Frank Shaw on the company’s blog.
These days 40 percent of all Xbox activity is spent on activities other than games, says Shaw. The average console is used 30 hours per week for streamed movies and other video programming as well as game videos – and the number is growing fast.
“The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want,” he says.
“With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. … That is why you’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year. And that is why we’re investing so much in Natural User Interface technologies (speech, touch, gestures) to make the entertainment experience that much easier—and more fun.”
There have been plenty of rumors, but nothing concrete. Is Microsoft finally ready to unveil its own TV channel? Or is this the Xbox app store the company has been reumored to be quietly developing? We’ll learn more next week.