Source: The New York Times.
What we heard: When they hear "Xbox 360," most people think "game console." Not the executives at Microsoft, according to the Times. In an article published Monday, the venerable newspaper reported that the software giant now views its online-enabled platform as more of a "cable channel" than a dedicated gaming device. Via the 360's Xbox Live service, Microsoft now offers numerous pay-per-view video options, as well as movie streaming via an embedded Netflix service.
Now, the Times reports that Microsoft has been in talks with the Walt Disney Company to bring its ESPN 360 service to the Xbox 360. The sport television channel's Web-based service, currently available through several Internet Service Providers around the country, allows subscribers to stream live sporting events, such as college basketball, soccer, and tennis. Anonymous sources told the newspaper that ESPN 360 would be available for a "per-subscriber fee," presumably referring to the Xbox Live Gold subscription fee. Officially, that fee is $50 per year, though it can be purchased cheaper via various online outlets.
The official story: "We don't discuss products, services, or games which may or may not come to the Xbox 360 platform in the future," said a Microsoft rep.
Bogus or not bogus?: Given the NYT's pedigree, the fact that Microsoft is talking to ESPN looks not bogus. However, by its own account, the paper says that an agreement to bring ESPN 360 to Xbox Live "was not imminent," meaning it could still fall through.