David Gosen, whose rather long-winded title at Microsoft is “VP, Strategic Marketing, Interactive Entertainment Business EMEA” (which means he looks after Xbox 360 in Europe) briefed Strategy Analytics today on announcements Xbox is planning for the upcoming E3. Specific plans for new games titles remain under wraps, but the company is planning significant marketing investment behind the Xbox 360 in European countries, such as Spain and Italy, where the platform is performing less well than in other markets. We can also expect a significant broadening of title genres as Microsoft seeks to target the 360 towards a wider customer base. In addition there will be improvements to the Xbox Live service, also to broaden its appeal and make it more user-friendly. The specifics behind these announcements are quite exciting, so watch out for news at E3 in a couple of weeks’ time.
One key development seems to be behind track, however. At CES in January BT and Microsoft made a big splash by announcing that BT’s BT Vision video-on-demand service (which uses Microsoft’s Mediaroom middleware platform) would be made available on the Xbox 360 platform. At that time the companies indicated that the service would be rolled out in the “middle of 2008”, so given that it’s now July we thought it reasonable to have expected news by now.
David Gosen confirmed to us, however, that there are no announcements currently planned for the innovative service. “Some things take a little longer than planned,” he noted, and told us to stay tuned. Well I suppose to be fair the “middle of 2008” could be extended another month or so, but it doesn’t seem likely anything will be announced any time soon.
We’ve already indicated our doubts
concerning strategic positioning around such a service, but it would be surprising if they were significant enough to have stalled the project altogether. More likely are the usual unforeseen technical barriers that inevitably arise when a “world first” of this sort is planned. Even so, it’s probably better that we don’t put a note in our Jan 09 diaries to ask for the next BT Vision/Xbox update; that way we’ll be pleasantly surprised when it eventually arrives.
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