Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announces Xbox Originals

Posted Apr 28, 2014

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is launching original content for people that have Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles and “other Microsoft devices” starting in June. Microsoft’s new service is called Xbox Originals. 

The TV shows include a live-action Halo series, a reality show about soccer, and a documentary series whose first episode focuses on Atari’s decision to bury E.T.: The Video Game cartridges in a New Mexico desert. Xbox Originals includes 12 shows that are targeted at TV viewers that are younger than 30. Some of these shows may have interactive elements.

Microsoft hired former CBS executive Nancy Tellum in September 2012. Tellum is now overseeing Microsoft’s original content initiatives. Microsoft set up Xbox Entertainment Studios as a counterpart of Xbox Studios, which is the division of the company that builds and publishes video games internally and with partners.

?Microsoft has a long and rich legacy in the content business. Games have been part of our DNA for at least the last 15 years, and creating original TV content is a logical next step in our evolution,? stated Xbox Entertainment Studios Vice President Jordan Levin.

The decision to create original content for the Xbox makes sense for Microsoft. This is because Microsoft said that the majority of Xbox Live activity comes from streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix. If the original programs end up getting great reviews, it may entice people to buy more Microsoft devices. This is a similar strategy that Apple uses with iTunes.

The trouble Microsoft will have is that its devices can be pricey. The Xbox One costs $499 and the Xbox 360 still costs around $199. Windows Phones and tablets that have Windows 8 can cost at least $200. Will these programs convince consumers? Time will tell.