Multiple reports have Microsoft unveiling a premium subscription television service at this years E3 and that seems to support the claims Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s vice president for corporate communications expressed on his company’s blog earlier this week. Shaw stated that 40 percent of all Xbox activity didn’t involve gaming at all and that the average gamer watches 30 hours of video on their Xbox each month. While gaming might be the main activity for the majority of 360 owners right now, Shaw expects that to soon change. His claim may warrant merit if adding more content to the already plethora available on Xbox Live (Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Last.FM, etc) in the form of a television service is true.
The premium TV service has been reported on in the past and isn’t actually a secret but it seems that Microsoft may actually pull the cloth from over it and unveil it at this years Electronic Entertainment Expo. With Microsoft focusing to market it’s Xbox platform as an entertainment brand much like Sony markets it’s Playstation 3; Project Orapa is a bit more ambitious than anything Microsoft’s competitors are showing. Project Orapa is the codename used by Microsoft that would combine Xbox Live and Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV. Theoretically it could allow Microsoft to offer TV to Xbox Live customers and possibly even Windows Phone owners through use of an application.
Some are reporting the service as Xbox Live Diamond, some call it “Fusion” but regardless of what it’s called one thing remains consistent; Microsoft plans to market the Xbox as an entertainment platform and this service is definitely one of the cornerstones. Microsoft has expressed interest about becoming a “virtual cable operator” in which they could become the gateway to deliver content over the Internet for a monthly fee. The idea being that cable companies could use the Xbox to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows and ultimately taking the place of the consumers set-top box.
A quick Google search shows that Orapa, is in fact a town located in the Central District of Botswana which is coincidentally one of the largest diamond mines in the world. Xbox Live Diamond, flag it as rumor but something tells me where there’s smoke…