Introducing Television Shows Exclusive to the Xbox 360
In an effort to keep up with the special features available on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, Microsoft has inked a deal with major Hollywood producer Peter Safran to post original shows for distribution exclusively on the company's own gaming console, the Xbox 360.
This is not the first time that Microsoft has tried to present its audience with original digital entertainment using non-traditional systems. Two years ago, Microsoft was the brains behind the poorly received "MSN Originals" online television hotspot. (Source: nytimes.com)
But nothing could ever compare to the "Originals" mega-flop 10 years ago, when Microsoft flushed a $100 million investment down the drain after attempting to capitalize on what they perceived to be a booming Internet audience at the time. It didn't help that they provided unpopular, lackluster broadcasts of shows like "475 Madison" which dealt with the life and times of (how appropriate) an advertising agency. The shows were quickly canceled before an even respectable rating was scored.
So is the third time a charm?
Safran stated that the new shows will leave nothing to chance, promising to be entirely scripted ahead of production, as opposed to the reality television option of years gone by. The shows will be short, too, with each running approximately 10 minutes in duration. Throw in the fact that the brunt of the costs incurred will be picked up by advertising companies and Microsoft has little to lose in pursuing this venture once again.
The fact that Microsoft knows their audience this time around can't hurt either. It's estimated that roughly 10 million people have signed up for the Xbox Live multiplayer service, with roughly 8 million more having purchased the console without the extra package. Those with the Xbox Live service will have the easiest time finding these new shows. (Source: zdnet.com)
The secret to Microsoft's potential success will come with better investments. Instead of paying high-profiled celebrities to star in these shows, Microsoft has opted to dump their money into finding quality producers to give their shows longevity (if nothing else).
Safran said that the new shows are expected to debut in the fall of 2008.