LOS ANGELES — Microsoft wants to prove that the Xbox 360 can last. In doing so, it is, intentionally or unintentionally, revolutionizing the console system. Starting this fall, the 360 is no longer just a machine for gaming. It is an entertainment system.
“The same question has been asked a thousand times in a thousand different ways,” said Microsoft senior Vice President Don Mattrick. “Can we deliver to our fiercely loyal fans and at the same time continue to transform the industry by delivering for everyone? The answer is yes we can.”
In conjunction with new partners NBC, Universal, MGM International, Constantin and Netflix, the Xbox 360 now will have a library of over 10,000 on demand movies and television shows.
That’s not to mention the countless other partners Microsoft has, such as Disney, Warner, ABC and MTV.
Consumers have spent more than $48 billion this past year on videogames, Mattrick said. That is more than the amount they have spent on movies both on DVD and in the box office and in music.
While games are fast becoming the number one driver of entertainment spending, the Xbox 360 is dominating its position as the best-selling video game console as having sold more than 2.7 billion in the last year. That’s significantly more than the 1.1 billion Wiis sold or the 0.9 billion Playstation 3s sold.
This year Microsoft gives consumers even more reasons to buy their system.
“Finding the games you want and the entertainment you want when you want it means movies, TV shows and music from [our] partners,” said Mattrick.
The Xbox 360 now has the world’s largest amount of on demand movies and television shows; more than any cable or satellite provider.
Microsoft’s partnership with Netflix only intensifies that fact. Now Netflix subscribers who own 360s can access Netflix’s library of films through their gaming system and watch movies instantly at their homes. Even when they don’t have their friends over, Xbox owners can share the movie they rented with their friends using the new Live Party mode available through the 360’s new interface. This partnership more than doubles Microsoft’s current selection of movies and TV shows.
With the Xbox’s new functionalities, it seems that the only reason to actually visit a video rental store is to rent a videogame. Maybe there will come a point in time where videogames can be rented via their console as well.