Microsoft ready to make its own TV for Xbox

Microsoft is finally ready to serve an assorted helping of original TV programmes made for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Microsoft ready to make its own TV for Xbox

Microsoft is finally ready to serve an assorted helping of original TV programmes made for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Nearly two years after launching a studio to create new shows to be streamed on Xbox consoles, the tech giant says they are coming this summer.

However, viewers should not expect Xbox Originals, as they are called, to be available the same way that content is provided sites such as Netflix and Hulu.

“We don’t necessarily know what approach will work and we don’t necessarily know what approach won’t work,” said Nancy Tellem, the president of Xbox Entertainment Studios.

She spoke during a recent press preview of Xbox Originals at Microsoft’s offices in Santa Monica, California.

It came ahead of Microsoft’s presentation today at the “newfronts” in New York – a digital take on the annual “upfronts”, where broadcast and cable networks unveil their future schedules for advertisers.

Others set to participate in this week’s “newfronts” include Hulu, Crackle, Maker, AOL and Yahoo.

Ms Tellem, who was previously president of CBS Entertainment, said no decisions have been made as to how each Xbox series will be available.

They could be part of the five US dollars (£3) a month Xbox Live subscription, for sale individually or available for free through advertising partnerships.

She said an Xbox Originals app would be added to the consoles’ user interface, and each new Xbox series might be differently distributed.

Among the shows coming to Xbox this year are the street soccer docu-series Every Street United, which will be the first to debut in July, and the six-part tech-centric documentary series Signal To Noise.

The first instalment – Atari: Game Over – chronicles this past weekend’s excavation of a landfill thought to be filled with copies of Atari’s infamous ET game.

The studio had previously said it was working on a live-action series based on the Halo sci-fi game, with Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, as well as a multi-part Halo movie to be executive produced by Ridley Scott.

Xbox has also partnered with UK broadcaster Channel 4 to co-produce an eight-episode series called Humans, set in a world where robotic servants wait on their human owners.

Other pilots in development include a reality series starring former Australian soldier and shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder; an adaption of Warren Ellis’ detective novel Gun Machine; and a variety comedy series featuring Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.

Ms Tellem said Xbox Entertainment Studios is developing shows based on five other Microsoft Studios game franchises: historical simulator Age Of Empires, fantasy saga Fable, racing series Forza, alien shoot-’em-up Gears Of War and zombie survival horror State Of Decay.

Microsoft is venturing into mostly uncharted territory with its plan to create new series. Sony only dabbled in original programming with three seasons of The Tester, a reality competition that pit gamers against each other to win a job with Sony.

The third season debuted in 2012 on the PlayStation 3, and Sony has no plans for a fourth edition.

Unlike such streaming content providers as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which push content to multiple gizmos, Xbox Originals will not be available to view everywhere.

Depending on the series, they will only be streamed on certain devices, mostly the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but possibly other Microsoft items, such as the Surface tablet and the Windows Phone 8.

The move into show business comes a few years after Microsoft first proclaimed that Xbox consoles – now over 80 million strong with 48 million monthly Xbox Live subscribers – are used less for playing games online and more for listening to music and watching movies, shows and videos on apps from content providers such as HBO, Fox and Twitch.

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