Microsoft making “big bet” on next-generation Xbox interactive TV

By Tom Warren, on 16th Mar 11 1:53 am with 13 Comments

Microsoft is currently working on building next-generation Xbox interactive TV experiences.

The software giant issued a job posting on Tuesday advertising a new role working for the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division. The job listing hints that Microsoft is making a “big bet on interactive TV experiences.” In particular, the company confirms it is working on a new Xbox ESPN version. “Help us build our next version of ESPN on Xbox,” states the job listing:

Do you like Xbox? Are you a sports fan? Do you like watching TV? Do you enjoy enabling a team to solve big challenges? Do you want to help combine all of these things into Microsoft’s big bet on interactive TV experiences, focusing on ESPN Sports?

We’ve got great content and now we’re building interactive television experiences that will showcase what next-generation TV can look like for sports. Personalized and social experiences that will make watching sports on Xbox the next best thing to being at the stadium. Build the experience that will make people crave their sports fix on Xbox.

We’re looking for an experienced Principal Development Lead to help us build our next version of ESPN on Xbox. Our seasoned client team shipped the first version of ESPN on Xbox, and we are accelerating with new services on Azure, new client technology to add more magic, and more focus on interactive, personalized entertainment. This opportunity is to lead a development team building client and services, enabling rapid iteration on both (aspirations of monthly feature updates), and adding to a great team culture along the way.

Microsoft is also currently readying “Orapa”, a mash-up of the company’s Mediaroom IPTV services and Microsoft’s Xbox services. “Orapa” will reportedly marry Avatar Kinect and the company’s Ventura music and video services. Microsoft has long been in talks with media companies to produce a TV service for its Xbox console. Microsoft is proposing a “virtual cable operator” which will be delivered over the Internet and charged with a monthly fee. Microsoft has also suggested that cable companies could use the Xbox as a device to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows and interact with their Xbox LIVE friends. Microsoft offers a similar service in the UK where Sky customers can use their Xbox LIVE avatars during sporting events.

Microsoft tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year. The software giant refuses to comment on reports of a TV subscription however. Microsoft is planning to make Orapa available by holiday 2011. If the company’s schedule is accurate then this could pave the way for the much talked about Xbox TV service just in time for Christmas.

Xbox sports TV interaction

  • Andy Topley

    Only get excited if in the US, only the US gets the cool stuff that Microsoft make. The rest of the world get the basic stuff yet pay the same or more. :(

    • iMaclovin

      yes i know, i live in mexico and it sucks. The only feauture that you get is zune video marketplace… :´(

    • Shutoutking01

      No kidding! Does anyone know if there’s any word of music in the Zune Marketplace coming to Canada? It’s the only thing I feel is lacking from WP7!

    • GP007

      Ask the Canadian version of the RIAA, forget what they’re called. Or whoever the content holders are that won’t let the Zune Pass work in Canada specifically. I bet it comes down to them wanting some insane piece of money for doing basically nothing and MS doesn’t feel the price is right.

      And it’s not just MS, look at netflix. It took netflix years to finally go to Canada as well but look at their video selection, it’s piss poor. You think MS and Netflix don’t want to offer you more services and then get more money? Of course they do, but if the content holders want to be assholes about it and greedy little pricks it’ll never happen, or just not anytime soon.

      That’s just the sad truth.

    • Holden Page

      It is because of the labels, its really not Microsoft’s fault.

  • Adam Shaw

    I get nothing here in Thailand and windows costs more than the average monthly salary. No windows phone and no local search in bing.

  • Adam Shaw

    LOL search for “search” in google and Bing is the top result.
    Going to try bing next!

    • Sebastian Gorgon

      Erm… no its not here

  • Anonymous

    I read a lot of excuses that the RIAA, MPAA and other content holders are the ones preventing MS from entering foreign markets with content, yet Apple has no issue doing so? MS has plenty of muscle yet they can’t get the most basic content deals done or even get carriers to handle phone updates properly. The only Apple product I own is an iPhone 4, I’m a pretty staunch Windows guy, but it’s pretty clear something is wrong when the company that holds 90%+ of the desktop market can’t get this stuff right.

    • Bob

      The issue is obviously money not regulations. Apple has plenty of clout because they’re a dominant player in music and phones. They also cut some great deals early and make far more per device (which means they can pay more and still have the math work).

      MS’s clout on the Windows side is higher, but the math is still in Apple’s favor. A PC sale *grosses* MS $15-75 depending on type (netbook, high end desktop). Apple nets 2X that just on the hardware of an iTouch, not counting music, apps, etc. And Windows faces all sorts of antitrust restrictions which probably limit MS’s ability to leverage its market success to help them here.

      Not excusing the result, which makes for an uncompetitive offering. Just sayin.

  • Guest

    Five years late, at least. Go MS!

  • Steven Cottle

    Actually Europe already has this on their xbox as a service. It’s just now coming to USA.

  • Lucas Burke

    i live in the U.S.

    im good =P