Microsoft’s Xbox 360 takes off


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CORRECTION: A previous version of this post included a typo. Final Fantasy XIII, not XXIII, is joining the Xbox 360 lineup.

UPDATED 2:35 P.M.: Over lunch, Microsoft executives fleshed out the Xbox/Netflix arrangement announced this morning at the video game industry’s annual event, the E3 Media & Business Summit, here in Los Angeles.


The Xbox/Netflix announcement is part of a battle being waged over which device and service will be the entertainment hub in people’s homes. For those who want to watch movies downloaded from the Internet on their TVs, having an Xbox will make it easier, executives said. (Netflix already has a partnership with a company it backed called Roku that sells a box that also streams video content from Netflix over the Internet and on to television sets).

Although the Xbox Live online platform has had video content, Microsoft’s partnership with Netflix, which built its business sending DVDs through the mail, will add 10,000 movies and TV shows. The Netflix service will be available free to people who pay for the premium Xbox Live Gold membership, which cost $50 a year, and who are also Netflix members. Microsoft said a majority of its 12 million XboxLive members pay the annual fee but did not say exactly how many.

Microsoft executives said they were continuing their PacMan-like gobbling of games, wooing developers who were once close allies with Sony’s PlayStation platform.

Today Microsoft added more friends to its lineup, including Capcom Entertainment Inc., which will bring its Resident Evil franchise for the first time to the Xbox. Also joining the Xbox lineup is Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII. The franchise that has shipped more than 85 million units.

‘Final Fantasy joins a list of former PlayStation franchises finding a new home on Xbox 360,’ said Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s senior vice president for interactive entertainment.

-- Alex Pham