Microsoft has unveiled the first wave of TV and Entertainment apps for the Xbox One console. The apps will be launching across 13 markets following the console's launch. Some of the services will be going live from 22 November 2013, with others to be active by Spring 2014. The 13 markets currently being addressed include the US and Canada, seven European countries (Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, UK), as well as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico. Microsoft intends to continue adding more entertainment apps to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 via additional partnerships over the coming months.
Xbox One is assuming the role of an all-in-one platform on which users are able to find a simplified gateway into a comprehensive portfolio of content. Users will be able to access via the Xbox One a variety of different entertainment services, including sport apps from Eurosport, NFL, ESPN, broadcaster catch-up TV services such as MyTF1, 4oD, Demand 5, subscription online video services including Netflix, Lovefilm, Amazon Instant Video, and an array of other options (see the file attached for complete listings as of 08/11/2013). Xbox One also features the ability to connect alternative video devices through an HDMI-in, and run the video via the Xbox One console - a subtle positioning of the Xbox One as a gateway to the TV set with a further aggregation role. The console also provides advanced usability features such voice and gesture control interfaces.
Overall, the array of apps which will be initially available on the Xbox One mirrors that which has already been brought to Xbox 360 consoles, with no major new additions. Instead, the initial wave has concentrated upon ensuring that users' current services migrate to the latest console iteration - although some services (such as those belonging to the major German broadcast groups) have yet to be announced. IHS believes this simply to be a matter of time, as Microsoft continues to position its consoles as entertainment hubs combining hardware, software and utilities with games, video content, music as well as additional services as Skype, Bing search, SkyDrive.
However, there remain notable omissions among the content services which the Xbox One provides. In Germany, Italy and Spain, the main commercial broadcasters are still missing from the platform - this will be an important gap to plug to ensure local success of the entertainment strategy. But the success of the same entertainment-focus on the Xbox360, and the impact which the availability of entertainment services has had on the longevity of the paid-for Xbox Live Gold service, ensures that Microsoft will be intent on making sure the wider entertainment offer remains superior to that of its immediate games-sector competitors - Sony and Nintendo - and IHS expects the array of content deals to further improve over the lifespan of the console.
As the video applications go live on the Xbox One, we will be adding the deals into our tracking of active connected-device video content deals in our Intelligence services.