In late July, rumors swirled that a significant update to ESPN’s presence on Xbox LIVE was due in August. The whispers were correct.
The ESPN update is now available, bringing with it a slew of new features and content that will surely further Microsoft’s strategy of positioning the Xbox as the crux of its ‘living room’ strategy. An Xbox LIVE Gold membership is required to take full advantage of the update.
Microsoft has made it plain in recent months that its plan to extend content, and not just games, into rooms that do not contain traditional PCs will be spearheaded by its Xbox line. The company has been focusing heavily on content expansions for the Xbox, as its success as a non-gaming device will largely depend on the depth of its library.
What follows is the list, as provided by Major Nelson, that outlines today’s changes:
- My Sports – ESPN on Xbox LIVE now allows you to choose your favorite sports and teams and designate these channels as “My Sports,” so you can jump directly into the games and content you care most about. ESPN on Xbox LIVE will automatically provide you with a personalized daily feed of news and highlights based on “My Sports,” catching you up on only the teams and sports you care about most.
- Mini Guide – The Mini Guide gives you a preview and quick access to all the sports content you care about right at the bottom of the screen. Saturday is all about college football, and now you don’t have to miss a moment. Is another game tied up late in the fourth? Instantly switch to that game. Halftime? Play the earlier highlights.
- Split Screen – Because true sports fans want to watch more than one game at a time, ESPN on Xbox LIVE is adding Split Screen, allowing you to watch two events at once. Watch ESPN3.com live events on both screens or a live event on one while you catch up on news and highlights on the other. You can even control both screens independently, pausing and rewinding each separately so you never miss a second of the action.
- Voice Control with Kinect – Focus on your team instead of looking for the remote. Navigate through the Content Guide, skip to the next highlight, or play, pause, and rewind that big play…all with the sound of your voice and the magic of Kinect..
- ·College Football Scoreboard – ESPN on Xbox LIVE is also adding a live college football scoreboard that you can jump to at any time. You can even use Split Screen to watch the big game on one side of your screen while the live scoreboard occupies the other, keeping you up on all the action from around the country.
- Reminders – Too many big games to keep track of in your head? Not to worry – ESPN on Xbox LIVE now lets you tag games and set reminders so you never miss a moment.
- Live Alerts – With new live alerts that surface at the bottom of the screen, ESPN on Xbox LIVE will keep you posted on score changes from around college football, even if you’re not keeping a close eye on the scoreboard.
- ESPN BottomLine – The addition of the ESPN BottomLine to ESPN on Xbox LIVE keeps you in the know with breaking news and score updates from around the world of sports.
The Xbox 360 has recently become the bestselling console, buoyed in large part by the strength of the Kinect. However, as Microsoft pushes more casual gaming and non-gaming content plays, it could be that Microsoft will successfully manage to rewrite the DNA of the Xbox line away from gaming, and into a family centered device.