Microsoft Gambles on Original Xbox Programming

Over the years, the developing relationship between film and video-games is enough to make even the most optimistic gamer sigh. This is usually caused by either the movie or game in question being made for the wrong reasons. Artistic integrity goes out the window as, primarily, these products are created for the sole purpose of generating additional income from said property and promoting visibility.

We all know this, which is probably why the majority of attempts have failed miserably, and it doesn’t matter which way around they have been attempted. They tried to turn Super Mario and Street Fighter into movies with infamous results and we can all name enough movie-tie in games to fill a bargain basket. So why on earth are Microsoft reportedly in early discussions to bring video-game classics, such Fable, Age of Empires, Forza, State of Decay and Gears of War into the brave new world of Original Programming?

Is this yet another misstep from Microsoft or are they genuinely onto something unique and exciting?

Although it’s been over 30 years, I still haven’t forgiven Steven Spielberg for the abomination that was E.T. the game but, let’s face it, there was only ever going to be winner in that deal. So please forgive my cynicism when I’m informed that Halo the TV series is in production and Steven Spielberg is the executive producer.

Traditionally, in June, our gaming or TV fix is replaced by topping up on vitamin D, enjoying the great outdoors and washing it down with beer and barbecue, but not this year. Microsoft want to tempt you back onto your console with several shows coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, and other Microsoft devices.

But don’t worry, there will be no binge viewing of Netflix style proportions on your shiny new entertainment hub as the content will drip feed onto your system. With offerings such as the documentary following Atari’s demise after its financial blunder of overestimating the success of its game to the point where it had to bury millions of unsold cartridges in a New Mexico landfill (insert irony here).

It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as the 13th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival will also be streamed on the service in June. This will allow you to enjoy a summer music festival, but also use your nice clean toilet at home. The full list of Xbox Originals shows can be found on the Microsoft website.

Risky gamble or master-stroke?

Risky gamble or master-stroke?

It seems that someone at Microsoft towers has stumbled across the fact that Netflix now has 48 million subscribers and Xbox Live also has 48 million subscribers. They’ve now ended up at a predictable conclusion, but a simple comparison of Amazon Prime and Netflix should be more than enough to keep out of this fight.

Although Microsoft are clearly trying to dig themselves out of a hole, I fear they could actually be digging themselves in even deeper than the ET landfill site. The simple truth is, Netflix is so successful because of the low price of £5.99 a month and you don’t need to spend £400 on a games console/entertainment hub to enjoy.

Sony is currently winning the console war because, although the consoles are very similar, the Xbox One is still not proving itself to be worth the extra outlay as most people don’t want Kinect. In much the same way, people now realise that Google Chromecast for £30 will probably deliver everything they need over the expensive Apple TV alternative.

If Microsoft would like a reasonably priced consultant to save their business, I will happily offer my services and simply say “put the TV project on hold for a year, spend the budget reducing the cost of the Xbox One by £100 and you won’t end up like Atari.”

What do I know, though, one big TV hit could change everything and make me look foolish. But as a betting man, the rocky marriage between film and video-games has never proved to be a wise investment, so why try now when you are already caught on the ropes?”


About the author

Neil Hughes

My gaming journey began as an infant playing Pong, followed by an Atari 2600 with a beautiful wooden finish. Over the years, I progressed onto a Commodore 64, BBC B and my beloved Amiga 600 before entering the golden console years. It seems that if you write with an opinion criticising any platform you are now instantly labelled a fan-boy but this ageing gamer loves the PS4, Xbox One and Steam all for different reasons but if I see something I don't like, I might write about it...
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