Microsoft's Xbox Live service will receive a new wave of original content in the first half of 2014, it has been revealed. Microsoft digital media head Nancy Tellem told Variety that a range of new programs will debut on the Xbox platform in either the first or second quarter of 2014. Among the content soon to hit Microsoft's gaming devices is a live-action "Halo" project, produced by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg.
Xbox Live has more than 48 million subscribers worldwide - a figure that is sure to expand, given the brisk sales of Microsoft's new Xbox One console. That base will provide the software giant with a considerable potential installed base for its programming.
Tellem says that her team at Microsoft is still at work figuring out what sort of content Xbox owners will want to see, as well as the business models most conducive to producing content on the Xbox platform. Still in the works are the number of episodes that will be on order for any particular series. Given the novel aspects of the Xbox as a media device, Microsoft is not bound by the structures that typify broadcast and cable content.
"Depending on the piece of content, the deals change," Tellem said. "We're talking about exclusives, exclusive first windows, exclusive second windows. We play a lot with windows and co-production arrangements" and "whether we feel these are ideas are franchise building or we can own completely."
In addition to original content, Microsoft is looking at ways to tweak the content that it doesn't produce in-house. This could include elements such as interactive features being added to content like NFL broadcasts.