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How will Microsoft solve its impending Xbox porno problems?

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When Microsoft announced Internet Explorer for the Xbox 360 at E3 2012, the crowd’s reaction was expectedly mixed. Television web browsing will certainly be a lot more palatable with voice searching thanks to Kinect, but it’s not exactly a dramatic change. Nintendo and Sony have had web browsers on their consoles for 6 years. The real appeal of Xbox 360 IE, though, is access and video streaming. It makes IE one more feather in Microsoft’s growing cap of video entertainment apps, but it’s also going to cause some headaches for the company. Case in point: YouPorn is promoting itself on Microsoft’s family-friendly gaming machine. The pornography website illuminates a far bigger problem facing Microsoft and the Xbox going forward though.

“Thanks at long last to the introduction of Internet Explorer for Xbox, you can now tap in to and stream all your favorite YouPorn videos right from your Xbox,” reads YouPorn’s promotion, coming off like a Microsoft PR rep’s nightmare and Fox News anchor’s fantasy simultaneously, “Whether you’re pwning n00bs in CoD: Modern Warfare 3, annihilating Bullymong in Borderlands 2, or taking the Saints deep in Madden NFL 13, you’re never more than a few simple controller clicks away from being face deep in hot free porn.”

Microsoft for its part was unperturbed by the announcement, nor was it impressed by the proper plural usage of Bullymong. “To be clear, we are adding Internet Explorer to Xbox Live, not specific adult content providers like YouPorn or any other specific website content,” the company told Kotaku, “Additionally, we give members and parents the option to turn this feature on or off for their accounts. Access to Internet Explorer for all Child accounts is blocked by default.”

Microsoft won’t be able to dodge the issue of providing adult content through the Xbox if it plans to move forward as a competing television provider though. Rumors to date have suggested that Microsoft is planning to either launch its own cable-style television service or that it will partner with an existing company like Comcast or Time Warner to sell the Xbox 720. Its hiring for former CBS Television Studios president Nancy Tellem reinforced those rumors in September. If Microsoft is going to compete in the space, however, it’s going to have to officially offer adult content. Comcast, Time Warner, and the General Motors-owned DirecTV all rely on pay-per-view pornography and adult channels for their profits. $1 billion of the annual $10 billion in revenue generated by the adult film industry comes from television services like these.

Microsoft has worked hard to build Xbox as a family brand, but it’s going to have to broaden its content options soon or its television ambitions will remain unrealized. Xbox porno may be an inevitability.

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