Since its inception, the Xbox and Xbox 360 have seen flocks of hardcore gamers flooding the Xbox LIVE network to play the latest Triple A FPS title. A couple of years ago at E3 '09, after millions of frags were logged and countless hours of hailing Master Chief, Microsoft took the stage to say that while the gamers are the core of its existence, they wanted the Xbox 360 to be the center of your family entertainment and they wanted a console in every living room. With that came the announcement of Project Natal and good things to come in the future.
At E3 '10, we saw the unveiling of the Kinect, Project Natal's permanent name, which proved to be the thing that accelerated Microsoft and the Xbox 360 beyond anyone's expectations, outselling the Move and even the iPad. We also saw an updated Xbox 360 Dashboard that contained several media-centric features. With the existing add-ons of Facebook, Twitter, last.fm and Netflix, everyone was excited to see what was next.
What came next happened in November, with another Dashboard refresh that included ESPN3, Netflix and Zune enhancements. Then last month we saw the addition of the long-awaited Hulu Plus tile on Xbox LIVE.
All of these things are important because it is proof of Microsoft standing by the ideas and goals they want to set for themselves. After all of the updates and improvements, the Xbox 360 really has made itself the center for all of your family's entertainment.
Where does this bring us to? Frank Shaw, the VP of Corporate Communications for Microsoft, posted a blog entry this week that indicated Microsoft's mission to further push the entertainment part of the console.
We have what he said and what we expect to be the next phase of this plan after the break.
Shaw said "Xbox = entertainment" and that "you'll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year". This looks to be a new ad campaign for the company.
Xbox is the gateway to games, music, movies and TV shows – in short, it is central to entertainment.
Shaw pointed out that over 40 percent of all Xbox happenings is non-game, and on average there are 30 hours of video content streamed monthly per console.
The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy... you've seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we've baked social directly into the experience with Xbox Live.
For the last 10 years at Microsoft, we've been turning up the heat on how we think about Xbox, and next week at E3 you will get a chance to see how far we've come.
What should we expect at E3? Of course, we shouldn't see Microsoft stray away from what brought them to the dance, which is truly great games. We do expect, however, to see more content, more video deals, more Kinectability and simply more media. The Xbox 360 looks like it will certainly be the hub for any and everything you could ever want to do with music, movies, tv, games and social networking, all in one console.
What are your expectations for Microsoft's E3 event? Fanboyism aside, we want to hear about it in the comments below.