Today, there’s going to be a major new update to Xbox. Users connected to Xbox Live can logon and update their consoles to the latest OS. Next, and as if we didn’t know this already, Xbox Entertainment content is going to come off the Xbox and easily migrate to a Windows 8 phone, tablet and PC, care of SmartGlass.
Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing Officer for Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division explains the new features:
This is a significant update to the Xbox OS. Xbox used to have Facebook and Twitter apps, but it’s dropped this in favour of Internet Explorer. Whether this maligned browser will have any positive impact on the Xbox ecosystem remains to be seen, plus it’s already been called “clumsy” in early reviews.
What else, you scream? Windows 8 tablets and smartphones will act as remotes for Xbox, content on portable devices can be pushed to the Xbox, sports will get social elements such as guessing the outcome of a game and comparing it with friends, Xbox music will be controllable via portable devices and games will get an extra window to play with. Think of the Wii U and you’re not to far off.
But it’s all part of a bigger plan. A greater sense of scope injected into the fat cells of gamers worldwide known only as “a journey to transform Xbox 360 from a games console to an all-in-one entertainment system”. Some of us don’t want or need this, but freedom of choice and all.
We also now know that there are over 67 million Xbox consoles worldwide. With the launch of Xbox Entertainment, Microsoft’s saying that “hundreds of millions” of new devices will join the Xbox party.
It all starts with the SmartGlass app then, which can be freely downloaded “soon“.
It’s a big week for Microsoft. Windows 8 launches 26 October, bringing with it the cohesive vision promised so many years ago by Windows 7. Plus, with the addition of the new Windows 8 phones, there will be a very good chance that Microsoft will completely take over your living room. Finally, we can now snag an Xbox for US$99 with a two year Xbox Live Gold subscription. Not bad for a console on its last legs.