At E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft unveiled a host of new Xbox features bringing gaming, TV, music, and web browsing together.
Launching later this year, Xbox on Windows 8 will take home entertainment to a new level, offering more in games, music and video and connecting your console to Windows 8, Android and iOS devices for an enhanced experience.
At E3, Microsoft unveiled Xbox SmartGlass, an application that will allow you to connect a phone, tablet or Windows 8-based PC to the Xbox 360, enabling a second screen that can provide additional content or manipulate the main screen using touchscreen controls.
This cross-platform integration means users can start watching a show on one device and then flick it to the television to watch on the big screen.
Microsoft also provided a preview of Xbox Music, an all-new music service for Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Again making use of multiple devices, Xbox Music will give users access to their music collections from any screen. A music store will provide more songs to download, as well as subscription services, artist-based radio and social sharing features.
Internet Explorer for Xbox
Internet Explorer for Xbox was also unveiled at E3, showcasing how web browsing can be integrated with Kinect for Xbox 360. Launching this autumn, this will enable users to browse the web using voice control or navigate pages on the TV screen using mobile devices.
Voice search, which is powered by Bing, was added to Xbox last year and this year will expand to 12 more countries, including Ireland.
Entertainment and fitness
Microsoft also announced additions to its sports content service on Xbox, with apps for ESPN, Major League Baseball, UFC, NBA and NHL available in certain regions. For TV and entertainment, Microsoft has expanded its network of content partners and 35 new additions will be coming to Xbox over the next 12 months.
In September, TV programmes will become more interactive with Kinect Sesame Street TV and Kinect Nat Geo TV, offering a two-way television experience through the Xbox 360.
It’s not all about being a couch potato, however, with the introduction of Nike+ Kinect Training, a personalised home-training programme that makes use of motion-control technology. Developed with athletic experts, Nike+ Kinect Training can see how your body moves, assess your strength and athleticism, and create a workout plan tailored for you.