In an official blog post, Microsoft has outlined its plans for a more entertainment-focused Xbox strategy this year. While promising to reveal more at E3 next week, corporate communications vice president Frank Shaw claimed that 40 per cent of all Xbox activity is spent on non-gaming activities. One such activity is video consumption, with each Xbox seeing an average of 30 hours of video consumption per month according to Shaw.
"The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want, with the people you care about. Made easy," he writes. "That is why you've seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we've baked social directly into the experience with Xbox Live – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe. That is why you'll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year.
"And that is why we're investing so much in Natural User Interface technologies (speech, touch, gestures) to make the entertainment experience that much easier – and more fun. With Kinect, we've made NUI real for millions of people, and we've only begun to scratch the surface of what's possible."
"For the last 10 years at Microsoft, we've been turning up the heat on how we think about Xbox, and next week at E3 you will get a chance to see how far we've come," he adds.
Some have interpreted Shaw's comments to indicate that Microsoft intends to unveil Project Orapa – a codename for the company's combined Xbox Live and Mediaroom IPTV service – allowing for TV, social networking, music and video to be controlled using Kinect.
"My daughter talks to the Xbox while watching movies and just assumes it will do as she says," he continues. "Through the magic of Kinect, she says it, Xbox does it. For her, and millions like her, Xbox is the gateway to games, music, movies and TV shows – in short, it is central to entertainment."
Shaw also draws attention to several previously announced headline numbers, including over 53 million Xbox 360 and ten million Kinect sales to date, as well as more than 30 million Xbox Live members.
"Those are pretty big numbers for a device that, until recently, had primarily been purchased by hardcore gamers," he writes. "But something interesting has happened in the last few years. While people are still playing a ton of video games, 40 per cent of all Xbox activity now is non-game. Put another way, we're seeing an average of 30 hours of video consumption per month per Xbox, a number that is growing fast. And people are expecting more – more options, more games, more videos, more entertainment.
"Put simply, Xbox = entertainment and is core to our entertainment strategy. Around the world, the Xbox connects more people to online content and communities through the largest screen in the house than any other device."
Later in the blog post, Shaw hints at new hardware, though does not specify whether anything will be shown at E3.
"And as the console has evolved, it's stayed true to its core while adding more and more experiences. Today, there is no better gaming experience in the world. Immersive games, sports games, games where you are the controller, games where you talk to your friends, games where you talk to the console, games that get you into shape, that make you laugh, that let you take a picture and share it with friends. Games that extend to your Windows 7 PC and your Windows Phone 7…and, of course, other devices to come…"
Source: Official Microsoft Blog