Amazon have revealed the launch of their online streaming service Amazon Instant for users of the Xbox 360 games console, with their new app being made exclusive to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
The service is set to be able to give users an additional outlet to view films or TV shows already purchased or rented from the online streaming store, though users will not be able to buy content direct from their console (instead needing to order it normally first via a more conventional platform such as desktop or tablet computers). However, for Amazon Prime subscribers, a bonus will come in the form of being able to freely choose between a range of 17,000 streaming options for rental that can later be viewed through their Xbox.
The service will serve as an addition to the entertainment offering provided by Microsoft on Xbox Live at a critical point where they are structuring their branding of the console to ‘beyond the box’, with plans also announced to use Xbox as a potential replacement for Microsoft’s connected ‘Zune’ entertainment service, seeing it become replaced by Xbox as the company’s new general cross-platform brand for video and music, amongst other features.
Writing an official blog post in the build-up to the annual ‘E3′ games conference (which will be held next week in Los Angeles (USA)), Microsoft’s ‘interactive entertainment’ chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi said of the potential for the console: “This year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft. Whether on your PC, tablet, TV or phone, Xbox will be a gateway to the best in music and video, your favourite games and instant access to your friends. With the launch of Windows 8, we’ll bring Xbox entertainment to everyone. With Xbox on Windows 8 devices, we rapidly accelerate the reach of Xbox entertainment from more than 60 million people to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”
With plans seemingly in place to make ‘Xbox’ the name to refer to for all of Microsoft’s home entertainment purposes, is it the right move to associate the brand away from what it is known best for?