Posted by Jonathan in GAMING, INTERNET, TELEVISION on 06-15-10 No Comments
My heavens, some actual news out of a trade show. Shocker!
Yesterday, sports powerhouse ESPN announced, at the E3 video game confab in LA, that it will enter into a two-year, exclusive deal with Microsoft to stream ESPN3 — formerly ESPN360 — over the Xbox 360 via its premium subscription service. The move answers Sony’s similar hookup with Major League Baseball that streams its live Web service via the PlayStation 3.
Let us step back and behold the stories here:
- We see, yet again, the raw power for sports to command premium subscription dollars in the otherwise barren content wasteland that is the Web. Sports deals, even bad ones (more on that in a sec) now force the hand of even the world’s bad-ass video game box makers. I can’t wait for, say, the NFL to take its content to Apple with an iTunes deal. The fact is that as the great Web 3.0 shakeout continues, sports will clearly not only be a survivor, it will be a winner.
- How crappy a deal is this Microsoft? I will have to double check it when I actually see the service, but from here, all Microsoft is getting is the ESPN3 streaming service that’s already available via the Web. The only plus is that it’ll be on Microsoft’s platform and not a on a competitor’s. Think about that: Microsoft is paying for the mere right to reshow ESPN content on a gaming platform. It is getting nothing unique. Whooa!
- Can Microsoft make good on its promise of adding unique interactive experiences to sports? The real shocker in sports tech is how lame Sony’s efforts have been to add content to the MLB material available on the PS3. Sure it’s cool to get games on a gaming box, but I’ve been underwhelmed at what those games are like, given that the PS3 is one of the most advanced pieces of computer hardware on the market. Can Microsoft bring down the digital Berlin Wall that separates traditional linear sports and its interactive cousins? Or will the two domains remain as separated as ever?
However this breaks, the next 18 months on the Xbox and PS3 will be some of the most interesting in sports technology. In many ways, we are getting a critical early glimpse at what the next era in sports will actually be.
Stay tuned. Or rather stay plugged in.
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