It was a big day for Microsoft. Project Natal was renamed as Kinect and given an official release date of November 4, a newly redesigned Xbox 360 is coming soon, and those were just the “Sexiest” announcements of the day. But one of the cooler announcements that didn’t receive quite as much attention came during the Microsoft press conference- Xbox Live users will now be able to watch ESPN on their consoles.
The announcement is interesting for several reasons. First, it is just cool to be able to watch live and on-demand sports on your Xbox 360. The Kinect will allow users to watch events and control the playback through the gesture control system. The ESPN software will also allow you to follow current sports news through a ticker at the bottom of the screen, and you can connect with your friends online when you choose to become a fan of a certain team. No word yet on when the feature will launch, but it will be free of charge with an XBL account.
Perhaps more than the awesomeness of streaming sports to your Xbox 360 is what it might signify. The deal essentially bypasses the current cable companies, and it helps Microsoft to get one step closer to its goal of offering a broadcast television network exclusively through the XBL. The deal with ESPN’s parent company Disney, which also owns ABC, might further open the door to more television content to stream live to the console.