Microsoft Talking to ESPN to Stream Content on Xbox

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It hit the New York Times amidst the buzz about the Times planning to begin charging for content, but that didn’t slow down the speculation around the ‘Net.  Microsoft is, according to the NYT, in talks with cable TV outlets, notably ESPN, to negotiate streaming content onto the Xbox.

The idea is to combine cable television and Xbox Live to make the game box more than just games.  With the Box falling behind other game systems like the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation, Microsoft no doubt hopes to boost market share by creating an all-in-one system with the Xbox to appeal to more than just kids and teenagers, but also parents.

The SeattlePI says that the quiet talks, behind closed doors, were “in-depth” between Microsoft and Disney (who owns ESPN).  They point out that both the Wii and PlayStation have Netflix streaming, making it no longer exclusive to the Xbox.

Of the three consoles, it appears that the Xbox is the one that is really turning into something akin to, well, your computer, really.  Although it still plugs into the TV and uses game paddles instead of a keyboard and mouse, the Xbox is capable of using Twitter, streaming music from Last.fm, and more.  Just like, well, your desktop.

It appears that one of the hottest venues now for traditional game console developers to explore is integrating the console with the Internet.  It’s only a matter of time before the console comes full circle and WebTV is born again, really.  Only this time, I hope, with a better price plan, the ability to actually load websites, and no loooooong waits for the dialup connection to finish downloading…


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