Microsoft adds Fox News, Sesame Street, Comcast to XBox


News Corp. content from Fox Television, Fox News, Twentieth Century Fox Films and The Wall Street Journal will be available on the Xbox device starting in February, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the opening of CES 1/9. The initiative continues to transform the popular gaming console into an entertainment and news hub, with Ballmer counting Xbox Live subscribers at 40 million.

“This is an all-in-one entertainment device for the living room,” Ballmer told the crowd. “These are all experiences available now.”

Ballmer also announced Xbox partnerships with Comcast — bringing its Xfinity video streaming to the device — as well as Sesame Street, which will offer children what Microsoft is dubbing “two-way television,” an interactive experience with their favorite characters. To demonstrate, a young girl came on stage to toss imaginary coconuts into the Sesame Street scene. In another demonstration, the little girl actually was able to jump into the scene and be part of the interplay with the Sesame Street characters.

“You move away from a one-way experience where you’re just watching TV to a two-way experience where you engage with your TV,” Ballmer said.

The next Microsoft update comes next month with Windows 8. Kinect, which enhances all of the Xbox content by enabling users to do everything with gestures and voice – rather than a standard controller – is coming with it.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s interesting that competitors for content delivery–Comcast and Xbox–are working together for interactive features. The partnership with Sesame Street is a great start and will meld gaming with online with cable television.