Microsoft's entertainment and digital media president Nancy Tellem has discussed sweeping plans to turn the Xbox into an all-singing, all-dancing entertainment hub, offering the same variety and quality of television programming you'd find on shonky old terrestrial and satellite boxes. The future of media is upon us, ladies and gentlemen! IT BURNS.
Among her other responsibilities, Tellem heads up Microsoft's new television programming studio in Los Angeles, a 150-head team devoted to "[bringing] entertainment into a new era" (via Deadline). That is, "an era when interactive entertainment becomes the greatest form of all entertainment". Can I jump for joy yet? Can I?
The team will work on all kinds of shows for distribution over Xbox Live. "We're looking at all forms of content for every member of the family," Tellem told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview from last month. "So that certainly covers live events, reality, game shows, documentaries and scripted comedy or drama.
"We'll cover it all," she said. "We're figuring this out as we go. But we certainly intend to produce things with high production value, with the same breadth of storytelling that you see on traditional TV."
Naturally, Microsoft aims to diversify its offering by calling upon Ye Olde Interactive Functions. In a panel on Monday (via CNET), Tellem gave the example of a live event that can be interacted with using the Xbox SmartGlass app for tablets and phones. Microsoft reckons children will find this approach especially appealing - "interactivity is a natural extension of what they do," Tellem observed. Having said that, she doesn't "believe in just adding interactivity for interactivity's sake", and suggests that Microsoft won't force these features on viewers who wish to remain passive.
It's rumoured that the company will also release a literal Xbox TV at some point in the medium term, possibly alongside the next generation Xbox, aka Xbox 720. It'll be a low-cost, always-on affair, allegedly.
Tickled by any of this? Fingers crossed it won't come at the expense of new videogames.