Microsoft is preparing a bevy of original TV shows to attract new users to its Xbox hardware. The scheme, aptly called Xbox Originals, will launch in June and offer exclusive content on Xbox 360, Xbox One and other Microsoft devices.
The company revealed the first of these projects, a TV show based on the first-person shooter Halo franchise, at E3 last year. A documentary about Atari games discarded in a US landfill site was announced in December, followed by sc-fi drama Humans in April.
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Today though, Microsoft detailed nine other shows currently in development. Every Street United is an eight episode mini-series about street soccer, starring sporting icons Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids. A second Halo project, described as a “digital feature”, is being worked on by Halo 4 video game developer 343 Industries and executive produced by renowned filmmaker Ridley Scott.
Microsoft is also working on a detective thriller called Gun Machine, an interpretation of the graphic novel Winterworld and a comedy series developed in conjunction with the network JASH. A stop-motion series called Extraordinary Believers, an unscripted show called Fearless and an adaptation of the role-playing game Deadlands have also been confirmed.
The Xbox Originals detailed so far are varied and will likely appeal to a broad pool of users. Microsoft has shown that, just like Netflix and Amazon, it’s prepared to invest heavily in original TV content. Exclusives often dictate which service a consumer subscribes to, and these shows will likely increase the value of its Xbox Live package.
Sony is working on original content too – a sci-fi show called Powers is in development – but both face considerable challenges. Unlike Netflix, Microsoft and Sony wants to push specific hardware costing at least $400 in the US. Attracting a sizeable audience to justify future seasons could prove tricky.
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