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Summary:

Microsoft today announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN at their E3 media presentation. Via Xbox Live, over 3,500 live sporting events in the first year will be available, many in HD. In addition, Xbox’s controller-free Kinect system will enable video chatting for Live users.

espn-xbox

Once it was done showing off the shiny new installments of Metal Gear Solid and Halo at their E3 media presentation today, Microsoft announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN. Now via Xbox Live, more than 3,500 live sporting events will be available in the first year, with many of them also available in HD, to Xbox Gold subscribers at no additional cost. Xbox Gold membership costs $50 a year, which is nothing compared to the typical monthly cable bill.

The hosts of "SportsCenter" announce the Xbox/ESPN partnership. Photo via @georgeruiz.

College football, basketball, NBA, MLB and soccer coverage are just part of the package. The in-screen interactivity will include trivia and polling.

Kinect for Xbox 360 was also demoed, and one of the features of the controller-free gaming system will be video chat. (Given that the optics used by the device to track the user’s movements are sophisticated enough to recognize faces and take photos, it’s a bit of integration that makes sense.)

VideoKinect not only allows those with the Kinect add-on device to communicate in real-time via their televisions, but will also connect them with Microsoft Live Messenger users chatting via video. And if they get bored of talking to each other about life, chatters can also use a Bing-based media engine to share and watch media together.

More E3 magic to come, including (maybe) the rumored Xbox/Hulu partnership!

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Case Study: 1 vs. 100 Live’s Glimpse of the Future

  1. Sounds like ESPN3 + social networking

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  2. The reporting on this site is so bad.

    Guys, this will only work if your MSO is paying for rights to this product which is basically ESPN3.com

    From blog.streamingmedia.com:
    While not mentioned by Microsoft, (the release only uses the phrase “affiliated service provider”) I have confirmed with them that ESPN will only be available to those Xbox LIVE members if their ISP has paid ESPN a license to get ESPN content. Of course ESPN thinks this is only going to force more ISPs to want to license their content, but I don’t expect it will. Dumb move by ESPN. At a time when they should be introducing the ESPN to the young up and coming gamers who don’t watch a lot of TV, all they are doing is limiting the reach and exposure of their content.

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    1. This story was written up (if you’ll look at the time stamp) moments after the actual announcement at E3 (hence the lack of thorough reporting). Thank you for pointing out these additional details, we’ll investigate further.

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  3. [...] to Rent Blu-ray Discs for $1.50 a Night See All Articles » E3: Xbox Live Gets Exclusive ESPN Partnership, [...]

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  4. [...] made a lot of potential cord cutters very happy yesterday when it announced a deal with ESPN to make 3,500 live sporting events available through Xbox Live. But those users should probably [...]

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  5. This is a BS announcement, because if your ISP doesn’t provide espn3 then you are SOL. BAAAD move ESPN. I was excited about it until I read the requirements.

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  6. [...] growing the amount of available third-party content ever since. Microsoft recently announced it was adding live sports content from ESPN to Xbox Live, and the new Hulu Plus subscription service will be available through Xbox Live early [...]

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  7. [...] In rolling out its application for ESPN3 video on the Xbox 360, Microsoft backed off demands for publishers to use its proprietary streaming format, enabling them [...]

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  8. [...] gaming and broader entertainment. Xbox Live recently announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN to broadcast more than 3,500 live sporting events to Xbox Gold subscribers; with that, and other potential live programming on deck, it’s not hard to imagine a future [...]

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