Why didn’t Microsoft win the Premiership rights for the new Xbox?

Microsoft Xbox One
The Microsoft Xbox One. Lovely console. Silly name.

The new Microsoft Xbox console looks like it will be an amazing piece of kit, with voice activation and what looks to be (no pun intended) some impressive image recognition too.

Microsoft is firmly focussing on the TV market. The current Xbox allows users to watch video on demand, but the new one will support live TV as well, with a fully integrated EPG (Electronic Programme Guide).

Many people have questioned whether the world needs another generation of games consoles, and many people have been suggesting Apple will release an Apple television or a decent version of their Apple TV product, which is currently too ring fenced to appeal to a mass market. Microsoft has answer both questions admirably, by providing a cutting edge games machine as well as a highly interactive STB (Set Top Box).

There had also been rumours that the new Xbox might not have an optical drive at all, that all games will be downloaded in a similar model to iOS devices. Microsoft has answered both end users who want a second hand games market, and the games developers’ business models by not making the console backwards compatible. So if you enjoy playing a specific game, you’ll need to either keep your existing Xbox console for that game, or buy a new version when it’s released for the new console.

Microsoft also announced a $400 million deal with the NFL to provide interactive TV experiences during matches. I question whether users want this level of interactivity during sport, but Microsoft (and the NFL) clearly believe many users do want it.

The surprise is that Microsoft didn’t win the rights from the Premiership football rights during the recent bidding with BT. BT want the Premiership to boost their BT Vision product. Winning the Premiership would have similarly boosted the adoption rates for the new Xbox. Perhaps Microsoft doesn’t want to go head to head with broadcasters, but this is probably inevitable (and underway) by supplying the de facto platform for Netflix.

The craziest part of the new Xbox is the name. During the announcement I saw a friend’s tweet which asked “Why is it called the Xbox one when it’s the third one? – asked by my son who’s seven year’s old” And apparently the Xbox one is what eBay sellers refer to the original Xbox in listings!

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