Xbox 360 Christmas Showcase 2009 @ Microsoft HQ, Dublin 15 September 2009

By Neil McCormick

Part 1 :-Sky Player, Twitter, Face Book and Last FM Integration.

Thanks to a kind invitation from Xbox 360’s PR Company, I was given the opportunity to head down to Dublin to cover the Xbox 360 Christmas Showcase 2009. Yes you read right – Christmas in September!!

Whilst there I was given the chance to have some console time on various game types of Halo3: ODST, Forza 3, Lips and Beatles Rockband.
halo-3-odst-1

Piaras Kelly, Microsoft’s Representative at the event also took the opportunity to give a demonstration of the SKY TV Player that is due to arrive as part of the console update due next month.

At time of writing, the release date and pricing structure has not been finalised.

If you have not got a SKY subscrition, then this will be perfect for you, depending on the subscription options you opt for, you will be able to watch Live TV, the English Premiership, Sky News , Sky Sports news and also have the option of TV on demand – movies and selected content.

Even if you already have SKY – You will gain all of the benefits of having a SKY Multi-room package without having to buy the additional equipment.

The Sky Player feature is located within the video market place.
Once you select it you have the following options, all set out in the default xbox menu layout.

sky_player_005

A feature that I personally am looking forward to is the party room option. If you take out as part of your subscription sports or movies, you can form a party and watch either a movie or football match while chatting about it with your party. Those that have also got the relevant package can watch with you. It will be like sitting in a row in a stadium. If you dont have a subscription you can still enjoy voice chat with your friends.

sky_player_001

After the presentation had finished, I took the opportunity to try using the interface, and I am glad to report it works smoothly and is very easy to use.

The Live TV feature is interesting – you may recall when the HD Player was on the market, you could buy a media remote. Within its controls were some specifically for Live TV. Could it be that finally we will be able to use them?

Twitter, Facebook and Last FM

The Microsoft Rep advised that these features are scheduled to arrive within a month of the Sky TV Player going Live. Microsoft have committed themselves to releasing all these features by the end of this year.

xbox360_facebook

I have to commend the thinking by Microsoft’s marketing team regarding bringing these new features to the console. This is moving the xbox 360 market away from the non mainstream gaming world and will place it in a more mainstream setting. At this stage in a console’s life span, the majority of gamers will have already jumped on board so purchases by gamers will remain static or decline. This move to mainstream the console, should hopefully generate additional sales.

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