xbox entertainment studios closes

A year and a half ago it looked like Microsoft was really going to take the plunge into developing Netflix-style original content. The company hired a former CBS exec, Nancy Tellem, to lead the Xbox Entertainment Studios division, and announced a live-action Halo series produced by Steven Spielberg. Now, Microsoft has killed off Xbox Entertainment Studios, and in so doing is all but abandoning the plan to create original content for Xbox Live.

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We know there’s big stuff coming from Microsoft’s division that is programming content exclusive to the Xbox Live platform, such as the Halo series with involvement from Steven Spielberg. But the first official announcement of exclusive content is a lot smaller — which doesn’t mean less interesting.

A new company called Lightbox has announced a “series of films for Xbox Entertainment Studios about the start of the digital revolution,” and the first release in the series will be a documentary about the story of Atari’s reported burial of millions of copies of the critically-savaged and commercially ignored E.T. video game. Read More »

Halo 4 Fincher

One of the biggest stories of 2013 was Steven Spielberg joining forces with Microsoft to produce a live-action television show based on Halo, the popular first person shooter. Very few specifics were provided, except that the show would debut exclusively on XBox One’s XBox Live network. Now, at a recent event, the president of entertainment and digital for Microsoft Nancy Tellem said she hopes to debut the first XBox Live exclusive programming in the first quarter of 2014. Will that be Spielberg’s Halo series? It’s doubtful, but possible. Read more below. Read More »

Streaming services have re-mapped the media landscape. The Netflix streaming service grew in just a few years to become one of the dominant means of accessing film and TV content, and its first forays into original content have been a great success. House of Cards, the first show to premiere exclusively on Netflix, has reportedly done very well, though the company hasn’t released official numbers to publicly tally the show’s viewership.

Netflix already has other new programming in the can, such as the fourth season of Arrested Development, and the Eli Roth-produced show Hemlock Grove. It is developing more shows, but being first doesn’t mean that Netflix will be able to remain the only streaming service with original content for long. Amazon is developing its own material, and now the Verizon/Redbox streaming venture and Xbox Live are both reportedly pursuing their own original content. Read More »

We live in a streaming world, and here are some of the latest updates. After the jump read about:

  • Netflix has officially passed on continuing the cancelled Terra Nova, but might jump on The River.
  • Google Play has now entered the movie rental business.
  • XBox Live now has the HBO Go app but only if you have the correct cable provider.

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When streaming content gets better and more abundant every single day, it’s pretty obvious we’re living in the streaming renaissance. What might have began with YouTube and Netflix is continually expanding, minute by minute, leading one Hollywood CEO to say that online distribution monopolies are a greater threat to the movie industry than piracy.

In other news, XBox Live will soon get a large quantity of streaming channels this holiday season and Hulu has just signed a deal to broadcast content from Univision, the popular Spanish language station. There’s more on all of these stories after the jump. Read More »

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