As we approach the biggest week in gaming, it seems that Microsoft is already getting its content and services ducks in a row in preparation for an announcement. According to Yusuf Mehdi from Microsoft’s Blog, “this year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft.” While we’ve already heard rumblings about Microsoft killing off the Zune brand, from what we can tell it seems that it will re-emerge as an Xbox branded service, and Yusuf’s post from earlier today all but confirms it.
So with that out of the way, what does it mean for Xbox Live? Well, for one I don’t believe that Microsoft will be splitting it up into separate services such as “Xbox Music” and “Xbox Movies.” Instead, they will use a premium subscription to unify them. And taking into consideration Microsoft’s aggressive approach to convergence with the PC, phone, and living room with the upcoming Windows 8, I think it’s safe to say that a premium priced subscription service that provides you access to everything that Xbox Live has to offer is certainly on the table.
The last piece of the puzzle that would make this even more enticing (and certainly more lucrative for Microsoft) will be actually owning the content. Can Xbox Live go the route of Netflix and start creating it’s own shows? Not only will it bring more people to the platform, especially those who normally wouldn’t be interested, it adds value to a premium subscription price.
I guess from now until the Microsoft press conference Monday morning, we can all start debating whether it will be called Xbox Diamond, Platinum, or some other valuable commodity.