Microsoft released a statement on April 28 announcing Xbox Originals, a premium content service much like Netflix or Amazon Prime that will launch on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and other Microsoft devices beginning in June 2014.
While Xbox Originals does draw off Netflix in some ways, the two have some distinct differences. Xbox Originals will have interactive features that vary from show to show, and the use of interactive technology in conjunction with television puts Xbox Originals in a unique category of entertainment.
Additionally, the original content produced by Xbox Originals is much broader than that of Netflix. There will not only be dramas and comedies, but also documentaries, unscripted shows, animation, and even live events. There is a lot of content for all sorts of different people to enjoy and there is a lot to choose from.
Xbox Entertainment Studios, the studio producing the Xbox Originals content, has recruited directors Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg to work on projects based off of the popular “Halo” franchise. Spielberg is currently developing a series within the universe, while Scott is focusing on a “digital feature,” according to the project’s press release.
Additionally, there are currently many other different shows in production as the service prepares to launch this June. Among these are “Humans,” a drama concerning the modern day but with advanced, commercial robot technology. Another show revolves around finding undiscovered soccer talent called “Every Street United.”
Xbox Originals will also be premiering the Microsoft documentary on finding and unearthing the discarded copies of the “E.T.” video game for Atari, a large number of which were buried in a landfill after the game essentially started the video game crash of 1983. And as for live event coverage, from June 13 to June 15, Xbox Originals will be providing a live viewing of the music festival Bonnaroo, “adding Xbox-exclusive features such as multiple camera views and Skype conferences with the artists,” according to The Motley Fool.
In conjunction with the above-mentioned committed projects, Xbox Originals also has some other ideas still in development. These include “Deadlands,” which is based on a role-playing game about a Wild West alternative history, involving secret societies, undead gunslingers, and some mad scientists.
Another interesting project in the works is “Extraordinary Believers” (though that’s a working title), which is a “hybrid stop-motion show.” Details on content have yet to be released, but the show will be helmed by “Robot Chicken” creators Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.
While this content is all available to those who have an Xbox One, Xbox 360, or other Microsoft consoles, it cannot be obtained anywhere else. Xbox Originals provides a major incentive for those who wish to consume their original content to go out and buy their products.
The President of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Nancy Tellem, discussed the desire to keep Xbox Originals very gamer focused, since the gamer population makes up a large majority of Xbox owners. They are also looking to branch out, though, so as to attract more consumers.
“Games have been part of our DNA for at least the last 15 years, and creating original TV content is a logical next step in our evolution,” said Jordan Levin, Executive Vice President of Xbox Entertainment Studios.
However, Tellum noted that Xbox Originals is still in its early stages, and details like subscription price and paywalls still have to be finalized, according to The Verge. However, with the wide selection of content already planned for the service, it’s likely that Xbox Originals will be up and running in no time.