Microsoft's Xbox One makes play for living room

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) continued its push for a larger role in living room entertainment with its new game console and entertainment center, Xbox One. Microsoft described the device--it boasts 8 GB of RAM and an enhanced Kinect visual and audio interface--as a single device for providing all entertainment and communications bound for the living room TV set, from online video to games and traditional TV.

Microsoft also said it will produce a live-action TV series with Steven Spielberg for its Xbox Live platform based on the popular Halo game series. The device will also integrate Skype video messaging.

Personalized voice controls that recognize individuals and display their personal entertainment preferences are among the new features of the device, which Microsoft said will be available later this year. The device will also allow users to switch between live TV and VOD or gaming or music as quickly and easily as changing a channel on a TV set, said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of the company's interactive entertainment division.

Additionally, Microsoft said it will work with the National Football League on an interactive TV product that incorporates fantasy sports and Skype messaging with live games.

The new Xbox will enter a crowded market for devices that increasingly offer a mix of games and video entertainment choices and attach to TV sets. One drawback for the Xbox One is its lack of a direct connection to traditional pay-TV services. To view live TV programming from a pay-TV service on the new Xbox, a traditional set-top box will still be required.

For more:
- read Microsoft's NFL press release
- check out the Xbox One release
- the New York Times has this story

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