Microsoft Reveals ‘Xbox Originals’ Programming Service

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The tech giant has divulged more information on their exclusive broadcasting service, now titled Xbox Originals, which was announced during the Xbox One console reveal.

Xbox shed more light on their potential Netflix competitor this week revealing some new shows, future plans and a general June 2014 roll-out date for the service, which will be accessible on any Xbox-friendly device.

“Starting this June, you’ll have more reasons to love your Xbox: Xbox Originals – premium dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation, unscripted shows, and live events. Available only on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and other Microsoft devices, every Xbox Originals show will offer interactive capabilities, as well as unique interactive features customized on a per-show basis, making it a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience you won’t find anywhere else.”

“We are developing premium, original content for the Xbox community which is an audience we are incredibly respectful of,” said Nancy Tellem, President of Xbox Entertainment Studios. “We believe Xbox Originals should embrace the way our fans think about traditional TV.” Tellem’s creative vision involves year-round, high-quality programs based on subjects gamers care about, with interactive features tailored to each show.

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When the then-unnamed Xbox Originals service was announced in late 2013, the stand-out show was a Halo mini-series being produced by Steven Spielberg. Xbox has now unveiled 11 more projects in various stages of development. Here are some of the most notable programs:

  • Every Street United - An episodic documentary series following some of the world’s most talented underground soccer players.
  • Bonnaroo - An interactive show featuring the 13th annual Bonnaroo music festival.
  • Signal to Noise - A documentary series exploring the influence of technology on culture. The first episode focuses on the fabled cache of millions of unsold copies of E.T. The Video Game, arguably the worst Atari game of all time.
  • Gun Machine - Based on the bestselling novel by Warren Ellis and co-produced by Brett Conrad (Sons of Anarchy). A New York detective tracks a serial killer tied to a mysterious collection of guns used in a series of murders.
  • Untitled JASH Comedy/Variety Half Hour - A variety show hosted by JASH (A team of comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts and Tim & Eric). Each episode will feature new, up and coming comedians performing in various formats.

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The Xbox Originals service looks to be an important piece of the Xbox One’s all-in-one philosophy, adding exclusive content and video streaming to its already established TV integration and gaming hardware. It’s unclear how robust the library will become, and giving Netflix a run for its money will be an uphill climb, but offering additional content unavailable anywhere else may be a push in the right direction, convincing consumers that there is more to Xbox than gaming and voice controls.

Images: Xbox, Reuters

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