SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has hinted that its next Xbox console will be more interactive, aiming to change the future of television.
Discussing the future of the console in a "D: Dive into Media" session on Monday, Microsoft's president of entertainment and digital media Nancy Tellem along with the firm's VP of interactive entertainment business Yusuf Mehdi said that the Xbox is "the start of the next wave of truly interactive entertainment".
In addition to that vague overarching statement, Mehdi revealed that there are more than 76 million Xbox 360 consoles globally at the moment, with one third of those hooked up to a Kinect sensor. Mehdi and Tellem also claimed that the Xbox Live community has grown to 46 million members this year, a 15 percent growth since last year.
More excitingly, Tellem revealed that she is spearheading a new Los Angeles based studio called "Xbox Entertainment Studios", where new features for the upcoming Xbox console are being developed.
"The mission [of Xbox Entertainment Studios] is to create true interactive content for Xbox and other devices that will change the way entertainment content is experienced and delivered," Tellem said, according to a Microsoft blog post. "Microsoft believes that the future of TV and entertainment is one where the TV becomes interactive and more engaging. Microsoft sees that viewers want to do more with their TV shows, movies, sports and other forms of entertainment."
Along with the entertainment plans announced by Tallem and Mehdi in the media session yesterday, the Microsoft executives also said the firm will look to partner with content creators, networks, aggregators and advertisers to "pioneer the future of TV".
And with the news breaking today that the firm has snapped up former Channel 5 executive Kate Barnes, who has now joined the company's production wing, Soho Productions, it seems that the firm is staying true to its plans.
"We want to partner with the industry to bring entertainment into a new era," Tallem said. "It's an era when interactive entertainment becomes the greatest form of all entertainment, and we couldn't be more excited to play a part in it."
Microsoft has yet to confirm any details regarding its next generation gaming device, but it's been widely referred to as the Xbox 720 for some time. Whatever its name will actually be, from what we've heard so far it seems Microsoft has recognised that the gaming consumer of the future will expect much more than a one trick pony, and the console will have to provide varied forms of entertainment to secure the same success as the Xbox 360. µ