Redmond, WA - Microsoft announced today that they would be starting a new cable network called Xbox TV that would be dedicated to simulcasting game footage of people playing the Xbox 360.
The station would launch on cable networks around the country this summer. A new update to Xbox Live would allow Microsoft to grab streams from players and rebroadcast them on the new network. Players will have to install the mandatory update, and agree to the new terms of service or their Xbox Live accounts will be canceled.
Xbox players will earn Xbox Live credit if their stream is chosen to be broadcast.
A group of interns will monitor the streams of players from around the country and choose the most entertaining feeds for broadcast on the network. It could be someone shredding the chords on "Through the Fire and Flames" on expert setting on Guitar hero, or epic battles in Halo 3.
Microsoft representative Jeff Parker said, "We looked at the number of views for video game videos on YouTube and other sites. They're huge. People like watching other people playing video games, and now we have a way to monetize it. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. We get cheap content that we can charge big bucks for, and players get a chance to be on TV."
Parker said the company expects popular games like Guitar Hero: World Tour, Call of Duty and the games in the Halo franchise to be the most often simulcasted games on the network.
He also said the station should be profitable from the start. "We've got almost zero cost for content, heck, it'll probably increase Xbox Live subscriptions. The demographic of the audience will be superb for advertisers. These are people that want video games, Doritos, Mountain Dew. It's a no-brainer," said Parker.
The announcement excited avid video game watchers. Aaron Stevens from Madison, Wisconsin said, "I'm not very good at video games, so I spend most of my time watching my friends play. But, they can't play all the time, now I can watch whenever I want to."
The move by Microsoft, if successful, could prompt Nintendo and Sony to follow suit with their own networks. Shares of Microsoft were up on the news.