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Xbox original TV content to start by Q2 2014

"Everyone recognizes how important content is in device adoption. It can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy something"

Microsoft's plan to bring original TV programming to Xbox Live will start in the first half of 2014.

According to a report in Variety, Nancy Tellem, Microsoft's president of digital entertainment, pledged the launch of the new initiative by the end of the first quarter, "at minimum second quarter."

Tellem joined Microsoft to spearhead the TV strategy for Xbox in 2012. The first run of programming will feature an original series based on the Halo IP, with Steven Spielberg attached as a producer.

"I was always looking for the next thing," Tellem said of her time at the U.S. network CBS. "Technology and the transition that was taking place was incredibly interesting to me. It's very exciting for me to be in this position right now and see how the business model evolves and how content evolves."

"We aren't Netflix, we aren't Amazon, we're a different animal"

However, Tellem admitted that there is still a great deal to be worked out in terms of making television fit into the context of a console online service - which formats and business models will appeal to the audience, for example, and how much interactivity will be expected and tolerated.

The decision to move towards television was prompted by the way Xbox owners were spending more and more time consuming video content, but Tellem believes that there is no precedent for what Microsoft is attempting.

"We aren't Netflix, we aren't Amazon, we're a different animal," she continued. "We're neither or we're a little like them. It all depends. The lack of black and white and this is the template and this is what we're following is very difficult. As we continue to do deals everyone's going to get more comfortable.

"We're in this amazing time where these two worlds are coming together. It's only now that we're getting comfortable with each other. Everyone recognizes how important content is in device adoption. There's always talk about what apps are available on your phone or what apps you can get. It can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy something."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.