Microsoft teased E3 fans on Tuesday, reaffirming the company’s commitment to the Xbox platform.
“Xbox = entertainment and is core to our entertainment strategy,” said Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications. “Xbox connects more people to online content and communities through the largest screen in the house than any other device,” he added.
Shaw outlined Microsoft’s vision for the Xbox in a blog posting trumpeting the Xbox’s massive reach in the past few years. “The vision for Xbox is straightforward,” says Shaw. “All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy.” The company points to ties with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu as evidence of Xbox’s entertainment strategy. Shaw also hints that Microsoft will market Xbox as an entertainment brand. “You’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year,” he says. Shaw rounds of his blog post with a hint of Microsoft’s E3 announcements, “the Xbox home entertainment pot will be boiling over during a 90-minute event.”
Microsoft’s revelations of Xbox being marketed as its entertainment brand are telling. The company failed to mention Zune and could be planning to release a number of “Fusion” branded products as early as next week. The software giant has trademarked Fusion Vault, Fusion Genesis and Fusion Sentient and also owns xboxfusion.com. Microsoft is also working on “Ventura”, a set of services being developed by the company’s Entertainment and Devices (E&D) unit. The services will focus on music and video discovery and consumption. “Ventura” also appears to run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud hosting. Little is known about “Ventura” and how it fits into the company’s Zune music and video services.
Zune has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Microsoft was forced to confirm it is not “killing” any Zune services after it was revealed that the company plans to rebrand Zune into Windows Live shortly. Microsoft has been suspiciously quiet around Zune and Zune services over the past few months. The software giant’s Zune Video service gained over 50% more market share in 2010 compared to 2009, thanks to an international launch of the Zune Marketplace. Microsoft made Zune Video available in October to additional regions including Europe, Asia and Australia. Despite the expansion, Microsoft’s Zune services aren’t widely known outside of the United States. Microsoft’s marketing teams have spent little time and money on promoting Zune and the focus appears to be solely on Windows Phone.
Microsoft also revealed some updated stats for Xbox 360 on Tuesday:
- Microsoft has sold more than 53 million Xbox 360 conoles
- 30 million Xbox LIVE members
- 40% of Xbox activity is now non-game
- Average of 30 hours of video consumption per month on Xbox