Xbox Live subscription TV plans on hold?

High licensing fees reportedly push Microsoft away from bringing its own cable TV competitor through Xbox 360.


In November 2010, a report stated Microsoft was keen on becoming a "virtual cable operator," offering a range of cable channels to gamers through the Xbox 360 for a monthly fee. The rumors continued to swell on the eve of the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo, when a new report pointed to Microsoft unveiling the subscription service during its media briefing. That unveiling never materialized, and now, it appears the service has been placed indefinitely on hold.

The Xbox 360 isn't the cable box of the future, at least not yet.

A new Reuters report states Microsoft has at least temporarily removed itself from talks to bring a cable subscription service to Xbox Live based on high licensing fees it would have to pay. This service was rumored to include voice and motion control, likely through the Kinect.

"They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive,'" said a "senior media executive" reportedly involved in negotiations.

Though Microsoft's subscription TV plans may be on hold, Reuters' source said it is possible negotiations may resume some time in the future.

"It doesn't mean they won't be back in another iteration. We'll have to wait and see," according to the executive.

As of press time, Microsoft had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.

Despite Microsoft reportedly backing away from its own cable subscription plans, the technology giant is not shying away from adding additional streaming services to its Xbox Live platform. Streaming services currently available on Xbox Live include ESPN3, Netflix, UFC, YouTube, Hulu Plus, EPIX, CNBC, and others.

Additionally, this week at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show, Microsoft announced it was partnering with multinational media conglomerate News Corporation to bring Fox programming to Xbox Live, and it reiterated Comcast's Xfinity cable service is on the way to the online service.


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