Lights, Camera, Microsoft: New Shows Coming to Xbox in June

By Steve Anderson April 07, 2014

It's been just over a year and a half since Microsoft called in Nancy Tellem, formerly of CBS Corp., to build what amounted to a complete television operation from the ground up. In that time, Tellem has been busy and now six new shows are set to be released from the company. Featuring names like Sarah Silverman, Seth Green, and the World Cup, Microsoft's status as a full-service entertainment powerhouse is about to get its first big test.

The six new shows in question are set to start this June, and hopes to bring in the kinds of viewership that Netflix could garner with its original series like “House of Cards” and the long-awaited fourth season of “Arrested Development.” With that kind of viewership at stake, Microsoft could realize some significant gains in terms of Xbox One device sales - a development the company is likely eager to land considering its position against main competitor Sony, as well as a host of other related competitors in the mobile device fields.

However, there's some particular interest here, as Microsoft isn't just looking to put up some new original series and hope for the best. This being a gaming platform at heart, Microsoft is also set to post some games alongside the video content. For instance, with “Every Street United,” a show focusing on street football (in the European sense of the term, it would seem) timed for the release of the World Cup, users can play mini-games connected to certain extra scenes that are also unlockable. “Humans,” the show involving robots based on a Swedish series, will also have ways to follow some of the characters outside of the show's main plot. The plot will be self-contained, by the look of it, but those willing to go farther will find out more. Microsoft's content will be primarily focused on the gamer audience, the 18 to 34 year old segment and mostly male.

This is a difficult road for Microsoft, as even Tellem and her staff will acknowledge. But it's a road that's packed full of possibilities if put together properly. On the one hand, Microsoft needs content, and plenty of it, to draw the users in. There are still plenty of gamers out there playing Xbox 360 systems and waiting for the Xbox One to fully iron out the kinks, get some more games in, and drop the price a bit from its higher-than-Sony point. New video content might help on that front, but if Microsoft wants to bring in new players, it will need a little bit that's not in that demographic. To that end, I suggest Microsoft look to content of the past.

There are thousands of hours of television and video content that's tough to find, if not outright impossible, and if Microsoft could make a name for itself as the content provider of last resort, it could see some really impressive returns from that. Consider television of the eighties, even nineties. Some of Tech TV and G4's old programming might go very well in here—finding episodes of “Cinematech” outside of spotty installments on YouTube is a particular trial—and there are plenty of possibilities that go beyond just making new shows.

Still, Microsoft has its work cut out for it here, and only time will tell just how—or just what—it ultimately does with that work. It could be very impressive indeed, but only if Tellem and the crew can play Microsoft's cards right.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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