ESPN and Microsoft have inked a deal to bring ESPN content, including live games, to the Xbox video game console.
As part of the agreement, over 3,500 live events currently available on ESPN3.com will be available for live streaming in HD through the console. The service will be free for Xbox Live gold members.
Games streaming will include college football and basketball, Major League Baseball, International soccer and Grand Slam tennis tournaments.
The deal will also bring thousands of up-to-the-minute clips to the console, and will have interactive features such as polls, trivia and predictions for what will happen in a live game.
“One of the things we are every focused is to continue to provide access to our great content to our fans,” Matt Murphy, senior VP of digital video distribution for ESPN told WebNewser this afternoon. “The ability to engage with fans in a level we haven’t done before could potentiality be very exciting, it will certainly bring an increase in engagement.”
The ESPN service will also be integrated into Microsoft’s Kinect product. Kinect lets users play games and interact with content without the need for a controller. In the case of ESPN, users will be able to pause and rewind live games, and answer trivia questions, simply by using gestures or verbal communication.
Of course, not all fans will have access to the ESPN content. In order to get the full, live-game experience, users need an Xbox Live gold account, and need to get their internet service from a provider that has a deal to carry ESPN3.com.
ESPN’s core business is still cable, so Murphy tells WebNewser the Microsoft deal was constructed with that in mind
“Everything is done with an eye with our core business, but we cant be content with just a television service,” Murphy says. “We know that our fans expect it. We have to continue to push the envelope and we struck this partnership in a way that is mindful of that proposition.”