Vudu, UFC apps arrive on the Xbox 360


Microsoft’s Xbox 360 transformation from a simple gaming console into a robust all-in-one entertainment center continues this week with the release of new apps from video-streaming service Vudu and a pay-per-view app from UFC.

Vudu, which is owned by Walmart, allows users to either rent or download movies in either standard- or high-definition. And unlike Netflix, Vudu offers users a catalog of newer movies, rather than a random smattering of older titles. To incentivize users to try out the service, Vudu is offering a one-time credit of $4.99, which can go towards rentals, or the purchase of a film.

The UFC app gives users access to upcoming MMA fights, and is offering next week’s UFC 141 “Lesnar vs. Overeem” battle for free. As of now, however the app is fairly sparse content-wise, as the company is focused primarily “on delivering major live and pay-per-view fights,” according to a UFC spokesperson.

The arrival of Vudu and UFC comes soon after the complete redesign of the Xbox Live dashboard, which brings the look and functionality in line with Microsoft’s “Metro” design that can be found in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, and the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Navigation through Xbox menus can now be controlled with the Kinect motion controller. And Xbox users can now save their games to the cloud, allowing them to pick up their gameplay from other consoles.

“Our partnership with Vudu marks a significant milestone in our vision to bring you all the TV entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Pete Thompson, General Manager, Xbox Live, in a statement. “By bringing Vudu to the Xbox Live service and adding the magic of Kinect, we are transforming the way consumers experience entertainment forever.”

The release of Vudu and UFC are only the beginning. Dozens of more apps will become available this month and into early next year. For the full list, click here.