Microsoft’s deal with Netflix and the Xbox 360’s impending makeover wasn’t the only news from the E3 Media & Business Summit Monday. A few other tidbits include Microsoft, Universal, and NBC; hard drives; and a new Wii controller.
New partners for Video Marketplace
Microsoft has partnered with NBC and Universal to bring new content to the Video Marketplace, Microsoft’s online service. TV shows include “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Office,” and “30 Rock,” among others. Movies include “The Mummy” and “Bourne Supremacy.”
With more than 10,000 movies and TV shows in the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, Microsoft contends it is now the world’s largest provider of on-demand high-definition content.
Play games off hard drives
With the upcoming software update, Microsoft will let users store and playback games from their hard drives — sort of. Gamers will still need to place the game disk in the drive for piracy reasons, but it won’t spin during gameplay. What this means is quieter gaming and quicker load times.
Microsoft Xbox boss Don Mattrick says that the 12 million-plus members of Xbox Live have spent more than $1 billion with the service.
Mattrick also says the North American sales of Xbox 360 have reached 10.3 million units, five million more than rival Sony and its PlayStation 3. Xbox software has accounted for more than $2.7 billion in sales the past 12 months.
“We’re entering a new age in entertainment, and Xbox 360 is uniquely positioned to become the heart of the living room,” Mattrick said. “The new Xbox experience offers more content than you can find from any device that connects to the television. That convergence of entertainment and gaming will bring new people and more families to the category, driving a record year for the games industry.”
New Wii controller coming
Nintendo will introduce today the Wii MotionPlus accessory for its Wii Remote controller. The accessory snaps into the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player’s arm position and orientation for improved precision and immersion.
Sony’s Stringer opens his mouth — again
Speaking at the Allen & Co Media Conference, Sony CEO Howard Stringer dismissed Nintendo’s Wii — the world’s best selling game console — as an “expensive niche.” “I’ve played Nintendo Wii,” he said. “I don’t see it as a competitor. It’s more of an expensive niche game device. We’re selling a lot of PlayStation 3s now and it’s still the best way to buy a Blu-ray player.”
Even so, during the first five months of 2008, the Nintendo has sold 2.8 million Wiis in the United States to Sony’s 1.2 million PS3s.
More Xbox 360 avatars
Microsoft is definately borrowing from the success of the Nintendo Wii avatars, known as Miis, in the upcoming software makeover. That’s OK. The Xbox 360 avatars may not be as cute as the Miis, but they’re still pretty nice-looking. Check out more Xbox avatars at Engadget.