Each year there is at least one or two major surprises at E3 that catch everyone off guard. Sometimes it is a new game that no one saw coming, sometimes it is an announcement that blows us all away. Trying to stay one step ahead and predict the upcoming surprises can be a full time job, and tracking each rumor can lead to the biggest exclusive, or a waste of time. Sources and rumors come from every direction, so until the announcements are official, all stories that don’t come from official press releases should be taken with a grain of salt. With that being said, the newest rumor circulating could foreshadow one of the biggest surprises at E3- Hulu is coming to the Xbox.
Gear Live was the first to report the story, and if their source turns out to be correct, then Hulu will join the Xbox Live network and offer a model similar to Netflix’s XBL service, meaning that Hulu would charge a fee separate from the current monthly XBL charges. How those fees would be charged is unknown. It could be similar to the Zune Network that charges by the show, or it could be a monthly fee, which would be in keeping with Hulu’s plans to begin charging for its library. Or maybe it will be free! Probably not, but it would be nice.
Although still unofficial, the move does make sense both for Hulu- who has been at odds with Apple over Flash, and could use the larger audience- and for Microsoft- who have made no secret of its intention to bring more TV content to the Xbox, going so far as to suggest an exclusive channel available to XBL users. There are, however, other complications.
A source told 1Up that the software for a Hulu application on the Xbox is up and running, but an E3 announcement might be overly optimistic, as Microsoft and Hulu are still negotiating over the licensing rights for much of the programming. Since Hulu is owned by NBC, Fox, ABC and others, the legalities might keep them occupied for some time.
E3 begins on June 14 in LA.