Following official confirmation
of the much rumored Xbox 360 Elite hardware, officials from Microsoft have also announced the support of a raft of new video content providers for Xbox Live, including Paramount, Warner Bros., A&E Network, ADV Films, National Geographic and TotalVid.com.
Paramount Pictures will also offer content on Xbox Live for the first time, with move titles such as “Braveheart”, “Team America: World Police”, “World Trade Center” and “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”.
At the same time, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release direct-to-video movies exclusively in high definition on Xbox Live – simultaneous with their release on DVD. Initial titles confirmed for the series include “Sublime” and “Babylon 5: The Lost Tales”.
Content offered by A&E Network will include “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “King of Cars,” “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” “Driving Force” and “Criss Angel Mindfreak”. National Geographic will offer television series such as “Is It Real?”, “Taboo”, “21 Days to Baghdad” and “Air Force One”.
Specific titles from ADV Films and TotalVid.com have not yet been announced, although the former is one of the major producers and distributors of Japanese anime in the West. TotalVid.com specializes in extreme sports such as skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, motocross, surfing and mountain biking.
“With more than 300 games expected by year’s end, an Xbox Live community of more than 6 million people and a growing catalogue of premium content from some of the biggest names in entertainment today, Xbox 360 is an incredible value,” said Microsoft’s Peter Moore. “Adding partners and content like this helps reinforce the console’s position as the center of connected entertainment in the living room.”
Microsoft claim that the new partners will add more than 1,500 hours of downloadable content to that already available on Xbox Live. It is further claimed that downloads have grown by 400 percent since the service began offering TV shows and movies late last year.
The downloading of movies and TV shows is currently limited to North America, with no specifically announced timetable for a similar service, which would require different licensing deals in other parts of the world.
As examples of the service’s popularity, Microsoft revealed that “South Park” episode “Good Times With Weapons” – the first ever in high definition and offered only for a limited time – has been downloaded 380,000 times. Promotional clips for movie “300” have been downloaded more than 477,000 times.