June 14, 2010

Microsoft and ESPN bring media convergence to sport

Beginning in November, if you own an Xbox 360 and subscribe to Xbox Live, you will be able to watch ESPN3 live and on-demand through your magical Microsoft box.  The entertainment device already boasts connections to Netflix and other kinds of entertainment content, but it's safe to say that today's announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) opens the world of sports broadcasting to an intriguing new medium.

Two SportsCenter anchors were on hand at E3 today to
show this picture of USC players hugging.

Importantly for both companies, however, this new feature will be exclusive to the Xbox, leaving Microsoft competitors Nintendo and Sony out in the cold.  Both console-developing companies, however, have made strides within the past year to make their mark in the streaming sports world.  Just a few months ago, Sony made a deal with Major League Baseball to supply a live streaming service through the Playstation.

The kids are going to want to do this, ESPN thinks.

It also means that there are some new features forthcoming as a result of the convergence.  According to their presentation, the Xbox/ESPN experience will also feature "live trivia, polls, and clips from ESPN shows  like SportsCenter."  For ESPN's Digital Media GM, John Kosner, streaming programming through the Xbox can create a "live even experience" that "reach[es] a group that we don't normally reach."

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