The Xbox has long been recognized as a streaming powerhouse, penetrating millions of living rooms. Microsoft is taking that a step further by throwing itself in the original content game, banking on a Halo TV series, Halo movie, and and other interactive content for its game consoles.
Microsoft announced Monday it will produce Xbox Originals—including dramas, comedies, live events, documentaries, animation, and unscripted shows—that will start streaming on its gaming platform in June. Xbox has already committed to six projects and has another six in development. These originals will feature interactive capabilities unique to each show.
Xbox Entertainment Studios already has big names on board, including Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott, who will serve as executive producers on two Halo projects: Spielberg will work on the TV series while Scott will produce the digital feature.
"Games have been part of our DNA for at least the last 15 years, and creating original TV content is a logical next step in our evolution," executive vice president of Xbox Entertainment Studios Jordan Levin said in a statement.
Monday also marks the beginning of NewFronts, the digital world's answer to TV's glitzy annual Upfront event, in which networks pitch advertisers on their upcoming lineups. With the rise of original programming online, tech companies, including Hulu, Crackle, and Microsoft, are likewise pitching advertisers to get a slice of marketing budgets.