Microsoft has announced the formation of Los Angeles-based Xbox Entertainment Studios, which looks set to play a key role in expanding the range of non-gaming services and content on offer for Xbox.
“Yes, we started with video games, but we have been on a journey to make Xbox the centre of every household’s entertainment,” says Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.
The new studio is headed up by Nancy Tellem, Microsoft’s president of entertainment and digital media, who also now oversees live event programming for Xbox Live. She said: “We believe that we are at the start of the next wave of truly interactive entertainment... When I worked in traditional TV, we would find ourselves saying things like ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could add an interactive aspect directly into the show and engage directly with the viewers?’ With Xbox, that is possible today.”
Microsoft has been encouraged by the success of events such as Xbox Live’s Elections 2012 Hub, which aired the U.S. presidential debates and featured interactive polls which resulted in viewers submitting million of answers to on-screen questions during live telecasts.
Tellem also said Microsoft will continue to team up with third party content creators, networks and advertisers as it bids to “pioneer the future of TV”.
Kinect will be central to Microsoft’s growing focus on interactive entertainment, with more than 40 new voice-controlled TV and entertainment apps set for release on Xbox in 2013.
Microsoft said it has now sold more than 76 million Xbox 360 consoles and 24 million Kinect sensors worldwide.