Microsoft has signed an agreement with NBC Universal to distribute an initial batch of 30 HD movies on the Xbox 360 console for £2.08 each; it will be joining the likes of Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures.
Consumers will be able to playback the movies for up to 14 days after the download. The deal, which covers Europe, starts from today with UK and Ireland the first lucky countries; France and other continental countries will follow soon.
Neil Thompson, head of Xbox UK & Ireland, told New Media Age that "Consumers are demanding more content from devices such as Xbox, which in turn means providers like us are looking to give broader, richer, deeper, more varied entertainment experiences."
Microsoft's move will certainly not be viewed as a threat by Apple and its iTunes services as it lacks the number of titles. Xbox users are also offered the opportunity to connect their games -likes GTA IV and Tomb Raider - to online content.
Apple is more expensive though with standard resolution movies costing £2.49 and Hi-res ones going to £3.49. But you do have access to new releases and you have 30 days to start watching.
In related news, it looks as if Microsoft had the upper hand in Japan as it managed to beat both Nintendo and Sony in the battle for the gaming console supremacy.
The Xbox 360, which is 4 years old this year, managed to sell more than 21,000 in the third week of February, compared to nearly 17,000 for Nintendo and 16,000 for Sony.
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Smart move by Microsoft. An even smarter move could have been to use Blu-ray rather than HD-DVD (but that's long forgotten now). The Xbox 360 gaming console is being used by Microsoft as a Trojan horse to penetrate the strategic lounge area and could be the gateway for future Microsoft content. For now though, Apple and traditional set top box still have the upper hand... But for how long