In a move that could push many over the edge on canceling their cable, Microsoft announced at their E3 media briefing that they are partnering with ESPN to bring live sports to all Gold subscribers. This joins Microsoft’s already hearty stable of non-gaming services including Netflix, Last.fm and others.
This “exclusive partnership” will allow all Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers to stream content including NBA, MLB, soccer, college basketball, college football and more at no extra cost. Microsoft and ESPN also mention that many of the 3,500 games available within the first year will be available in HD. While it is hard to complain about an announcement like this, the NFL and NHL are notably absent.
In addition to simply streaming games, the service will also provide a contextual interactive layer that allows viewers to vote on teams, answer trivia questions and more. If all of this isn’t enough, the service will support controller-free navigation though Kinect.
Microsoft has not announced details regarding the availability of this new content, but with announcements like this, they continue to increase the value proposition of the $50/year Live service.