Microsoft unveils SmartGlass, Xbox Music and new Kinect features

Microsoft E3 2012 Xbox Music SmartGlass

Microsoft on Monday revealed that its Xbox 360 gaming console is now the world’s top selling console, beating out the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, during its keynote at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that the software giant has no plans to introduce the next-generation Xbox until next year at the earliest, Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said “There never has been a better time to own an Xbox.” Read on for more.

The company continues to add new features to its Kinect motion-sensing controller to boost sales, incorporating voice-commands into popular games like Madden 13 and FIFA 13 and allowing gamers to call plays with simple commands. “This will be the biggest year for games on Xbox,” corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer said. “Last year we added over 200 million new movies, television shows and videos on Xbox Live. Over the next year we plan to double the content you can find on Xbox.”

During its media event, the Redmond-based company also revealed its Xbox Music service for the Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms. While details were vague, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi noted that the service will boast a library of over 30 million tracks.

Lastly, Microsoft announced Xbox SmartGlass for Windows PCs and mobile devices including Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The app acts as a remote control and allows users to interact with and view games and videos on their consoles. SmartGlass will also be able to serve as a secondary screen that provides additional content, whether it be from a video or a game on the 360, to the user’s PC or smartphone.

Microsoft’s press release follows below.

Xbox Makes Entertainment More Amazing on Phone, PC, Tablet and TV

Xbox SmartGlass will deliver new ways to enjoy entertainment in the home and on the go. 

LOS ANGELES, June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger? What if you could use your tablet to draw up a play in EA SPORTS’ “Madden NFL” and then perform it to perfection on your TV? What if you could control your favorite websites on the TV with a simple swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet’s touchscreen?

To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a bold new vision for enjoying entertainment at home and on the go with Xbox SmartGlass. Launching this year, Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.(1) The intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass makes your entertainment more engaging, Web surfing more effortless, and playing games more immersive by delivering companion content and control to enhance your TV experience.

“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”

Two years after the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft unveiled the next step in its journey to make Xbox synonymous with entertainment by unveiling Xbox SmartGlass, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and new TV, movie and music offerings.

The Web Transformed for TV
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.(2) Whether it is a new website you want to check out on the big screen, an HD video you want to share in your living room, or your favorite website you check daily and want to view in the 10-foot experience, you will have the power of the Web now on your TV.

Entertainment Keeps Getting Better on Xbox
Last year, Xbox added voice search powered by Bing and the power of Kinect, making it easier to find the entertainment you want. This year, voice search is expanding to 12 additional countries: Australia,Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from world-leading TV and entertainment providers, this year Xbox will continue to deliver all the content you care about in unique ways.

  • Your home for sports. Microsoft announced more must-have sports experiences and content coming to Xbox this year, further establishing it as the home for sports fans everywhere.
    • NBA Game Time with NBA.com League Pass Broadband (U.S.) and NBA League Pass (outside of the U.S.). Fans who subscribe to NBA.com League Pass Broadband will have access to hundreds of out of market live games (blackout restrictions apply in the U.S. and some international markets), plus highlights from around the league and up to the minute stats of your favorite players.
    • NHL GameCenter LIVE™ (Worldwide except Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden).Hockey fans will be able to enjoy every moment of the live action as it happens on the ice, with live games (out of market and blackout restrictions apply), more in-game interactivity, and replays and highlights on demand any time.
    • ESPN (U.S.). Later this year fans will enjoy 24/7 live programming through WatchESPN from ESPN Networks – ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U. All the favorites, including “SportsCenter,” “SportsNation,” “The Mike and Mike Show,” as well as ESPN’s coverage of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, will be live on Xbox.

Xbox also announced regional sports provider SPORT1 coming later this year to Austria, Germany andSwitzerland.

  • More TV and entertainment. Today, Microsoft announced more than 35 new content partners launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, including:
    • Absolute Radio – U.K.
    • Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.
    • BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.
    • Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.
    • Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden
    • Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle – Canada
    • GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
    • Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
    • Indie Flix – U.S.
    • Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets
    • Napster – Germany, U.K.
    • Nickelodeon – U.S.
    • Paramount Movies – U.S.
    • Picturebox – U.K.
    • Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand
    • Rakuten ShowTime – Japan
    • Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.
    • Rhapsody – U.S.
    • RTL XL – Netherlands
    • Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.
    • SnagFilms – U.S.
    • Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico
    • The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.
    • The Weather Channel – U.S.
    • The Whistle – U.S.
    • TOU.TV – Canada
    • TV3 – Spain
    • Twitch TV – U.S.
    • Univision – U.S.
    • Wuaki – Spain
    • Youzee – Spain
  • Xbox Music revealed. Microsoft showed a sneak peek of Xbox Music, an all-new music service coming to Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8-based devices.

Xbox on Windows 8
This year Xbox will bring premium entertainment experiences to more than 180 new countries around the world when Xbox on Windows 8 launches, featuring four Metro-style apps: Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. (3)

With Xbox on Windows 8, you can play games with friends and earn achievements, listen to music, and enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies wherever you go.(4) And with Xbox SmartGlass, you can start a movie or TV show on your Windows 8 device and finish it on the big-screen TV.

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