Pigskin-Referee writes: Microsoft said Sunday night that it plans to launch its fall update for its Xbox 360 game console, complete with voice search via Xbox Kinect, this week.
Microsoft also announced a significant number of related content partnerships, bringing most major services to the Xbox platform this week or by early 2012. On Dec. 6, Starting Dec. 6, a free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let also let users find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
Pigskin-Referee writes: Microsoft will push out an update to Xbox consoles Tuesday, designed to get consumers to turn on the device every time they flip on their televisions, not just when they want to play games.
Though most gamers will notice a dramatically different interface, and some will take advantage of more advanced voice-recognition controls, the real significance of the update is how boldly the software giant is putting itself at the core of the TV entertainment experience. Microsoft is partnering with 40 content providers from around the globe to significantly increase the amount of live and on-demand content available on Xbox.
Over the next month, Microsoft will add content in the United States to the Xbox from Verizon's FiOS TV, ESPN, and the Syfy channel among others. Next year, HBO Go and Comcast's Xfinity on Demand will come to U.S. customers. Many of the apps from partners are only available to customers who purchase an Xbox Live Gold Membership.
Microsoft is also adding new programming to the Xbox experience abroad. Canadian customers will get content from Rogers Media, Maple Leaf Sports, and TMZ, among others. And new programming will roll out in Europe, Australia and Asia.