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.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

42 comments
Darkflare_EX
Darkflare_EX

I find this to be good news. Personally, I think 360 guys are getting screwed over with junk like this on the 360. Microsoft keeps putting up crap people don't want and using it as an excuse to jack up the Xbox LIVE price. I feel sorry for you guys, getting screwed over because Microsoft refuses to make a lite package for those that only want the online play and Party chat and not all those bajillion channel crap no real gamer would seriously be interested.

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

Whatever happened to just making really powerful hradcore game machines.....I wonder what the games would be like if they pumped all of this money into r&d for games.(Tron)

rarson
rarson

@Evilbunz But see, money IS the problem, because when you tell these companies that you want individual channels a la carte, they jack the prices up so high that you can't pay for them. They want to bundle all their crap programming together and force you to pay for the channels you don't want (they're subsidizing them). That's why cable companies have "packages" that always include crap you never watch.

Randal__Graves
Randal__Graves

This is good for people who are too lazy to hit "Input" to switch to cable.

Evilbunz
Evilbunz

@rarson that is what microsoft has been telling these idiots who simply refuse to turn their backs on cable companies and the traditional way of doing things. Like these guys do not realize or see how fast technology is moving they seriously need people who understand things. The problem wasn't even about money... microsoft came in simply saying we want these channels. Microsoft refuses to put channels and pay for them that no one would watch. But these guys don't want that that is where the whole issue came from. They want to do the same thing they have been with cable companies but why would microsoft do that??? It is a waste of money and resources for them and how would they compete with cable companies if they offer the same service package based rather than channel based.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

No surprise. Internet entertainment giants are lobbying for SOPA. Glad that MS opposes it.

rarson
rarson

I would actually pay for it if I could get on-demand viewing and choose which channels I get and which I don't. I can't stand paying for a basic TV package and having to scroll through 200 channels just to find the 3 (which are all spaced apart from each other) that I actually watch. Problem is, the networks cost so much to offer that they have to end up offering the channels in bundles. If services charged per channel, nobody would buy all the junk channels.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

@SolidTy Good call. It is sad that something so awesome came to an end. I didn't even know that happened until I tried to start a Netflix party after downloading the update a few days after the update. That really sucks.

toddx77
toddx77

@Femto513 Ya I know. It seems Microsoft would rather spend its money on adding more features to live and advertising third party games as 360 exclusives instead of making actual first party games. Besides Halo and 2/3 of the gears series what exclusives does the 360 really have? lol

Flint247
Flint247

Just don't raise the price of Xbox Live again. :( They should have it to where the online play is free and the extras (Youtube, Hulu, ESPN, etc.) are paid for in subscription form. I like Xbox Live for the online gaming portion, but I am a little disappointed they don't have organized for people who just want to play online. Thank goodness I can get cheaper Xbox Live subscription off of Amazon, though. I just can't pay $60 for just online gaming.

Pr0ving4Gr0undz
Pr0ving4Gr0undz

@Sohereiam You and a other "few" people here wants their xbox to only play games, well wake up its 2012. Do you guys also say "I just want a phone that makes calls"? 90% of people actually want theses things on their xbox.

Femto513
Femto513

Maybe Xbox should stop competing with cable and start competing with PlayStation. Stop worrying about TV and buy some first party developers so you can have more than just two exclusives, Microsoft.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

I just want games. They won't attract customers through this because everyone just thinks its a video game console. Which it should be. They might as well release a Microsoft TV thing separately. Same with the Kinect, that should have been a non-gamer device. WHY CAN'T PUBLISHERS JUST FOCUS ON GAMES.

Syk0_k03r
Syk0_k03r

still don't regret canceling my XBL subscription.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

They already have TV on all 3 consoles. Wii, PS3, 360. It is very cheap and awesome! It blows Hulu on PS3 away. It is called PlayOn. You download it on PC and stream it to the media server. You can even get Live sporting events on it. I urge everyone to try the free trial for 10 days.

SolidTy
SolidTy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

However, I do get most multi-platform single player games for the Xbox as well.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

@Dmg051793 I agree with you man. Microsoft charges so much for useless stuff. Most of the stuff you can do on a laptop, cell phone, and tablet anyway. I thought the Netflix Party Mode and Party Mode in general is the highlights of Live. This is one reason why I have a PS3 and an Xbox. Plus being a PSN member yearly allows you to play some games for free, get early demos, and discounts. I buy most of my games for the ps3 and worthy Xbox exclusives. The best of both worlds is always better than being a one sided fanboy.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

1. They need to start focusing more on games. 2. They don't need to add to the overpriced cable rates that we already pay, keep going down the path of adding individual apps and services and let the market sort out where it wants to go.

Dmg051793
Dmg051793

Screw Microsoft. We already pay so much and they give us nothing but "access" to online.

blackace
blackace

@sleepnsurf Not sure this is entirely accurate. I have Comcast cable and lots of my friends have Verizon Fios. Alll my friends are using the Fios app and watching tv. Comcast is TBD though. ************************************************ I would be using FIOS too if it would finally come to Arizona. It suppose to be coming, but Verizon has been saying this for the last 6 years.

blackace
blackace

I'm glad this got put on hold. We don't need a cable service on XBox 360. That's why we have Netflix and Hulu Plus. That's pretty much all the TV and Movies you need. Instead of paying those large cable fees, use that money to purchase some first party companies like Activision, EA, Take-Two, SquareEnix, Sega, Level 5, Epic Games or Capcom. Seriously, Microsoft needs a lot more 1st party exclusive titles and there are companies out there who can make them for the 360 at the right price. We bought our XBox 360 to play hardcore and casual games, not watch TV and movies? That option is nice, but it should never be the #1 priority for a game console. It baffles me why Microsoft has surveyed their users to see what people want.

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

Hate to be that one billboard-guy again but seriously, OnLive guys. They still cater to gamers. Check in to it.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

The new dashboard seems to have been catered towards the abilities of the Kinect. I love the Kinect and Dance Central; however I don't think using the Kinect to navigate the dashboard is important at all. That's what we have controllers for!

Icehearted
Icehearted

Oh, how awful! I was so looking forward to having to turn on my Xbox 360, and for an additional fee, log into their TV service rather than using that pesky cumbersome Cable TV service I'm already using, along with Netflix, Hulu, Veoh, Youtube, Comedy Central, South Park Studios, and the WB, almost all of which are free. I guess I'll have to use my Xbox 360 for something else, like playing video games.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

Anyone else having the issue with the new netflix app, if you try to switch episodes you lose sound, have to stop, then start the show again. Also, there's no way to 'restart' a movie or episode. Lastly, HD rarely ever shows since the update, when before I use to get HD on every show or movie (if they were available in HD, that is). Also, opening up the 'quickplay' menu sometimes takes over 30 seconds to load, same goes for the 'my games' menu, etc. Lastly, I have to now use Zune app to view my game videos, which is ridiculous when the Zune app takes 30+ seconds to open and then another 30+ seconds to actually load tiles for the videos that are already on my xbox. Overall, I'm not impressed with the speed of the new dashboard.

Triton
Triton

Hold off as long at they want, I already have cable. Don't need it.

bonereaper69
bonereaper69

If M$ would of got that cable contract, I'm sure xbox live would end up getting more expensive and, and M$ would end up gaining yet another monopoly, allowing themselves to charge ridicuolous fees, like their other products.

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Besides the online gaming experience, and the party chat, anyone else a little disappointed in Xbox live? I mean yea when I want to get online and play games it is EXACTLY what I want. For $35 a year I want a little more love than this. I have been a member 6 years and it has been great but just a little more appreciation for loyal customers would be nice. I did get 2 free UFC fights which were amazing but ya know, a free game here and there would be great.

mrsniper83
mrsniper83

I really dont care if we get cable tv on there.....you know what i do want, for them to fix netflix.They really messed it up with the last dashboard update.

zato_number_one
zato_number_one

Call me old fashioned but I want my gaming system for games.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Are you telling me the only thing positive about the update may not happen? - Worst update ever.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

The only thing that mattered was Netflix Party Mode and Microsoft took that away. Too me that was the true highlight of Xbox Live.

monson21502
monson21502

what they need to put on hold is the price of xboxlive or at least make it 60 bucks for 3 years. this kind of idea will never take off if we have to pay for xboxlive then pay for this too..

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

I have a better idea, why don't they leave a gaming system for gaming.

megakick
megakick

I want cable on my TV. More options.

deijavu
deijavu

"Streaming services currently available on Xbox Live include ESPN3*, Netflix, UFC, YouTube, Hulu Plus, EPIX, CNBC, and others." * - unless you're one of the poor saps with Time Warner Cable

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I don't want cable through my Xbox, but I am liking the streaming video so far. Now give me HBOGO and Comcast OnDemand!

mrgames31
mrgames31

sound good and everything it for ones dont have or dont the money for cable . it dumbto me to pay live and full cable too just have on tv on xbox too if cheap or combo deal xbox live- plus cable that be good . other than it useless

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Not sure this is entirely accurate. I have Comcast cable and lots of my friends have Verizon Fios. Alll my friends are using the Fios app and watching tv. Comcast is TBD though.