The initial line up of movies and TV shows that will be made available for Xbox 360 owners runs the gambit, from classic and current dramas and comedies to reality shows, kids shows, sports and comedy and drama films. Here is the line-up that Microsoft gave us. Keep in mind that not all of these will become available on Nov. 22 but all of these are scheduled to be released on Xbox Live before the end of the year. Warner Brothers will offer the movies V for Vendetta and Batman Forever, while Paramount will have Jackass The Movie and Nacho Libre - all for rental The rest are TV show episodes you can buy including Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force from Adult Sim, South Park and Chappelle’s Show from Comedy Central, The Real World and Pimp My Ride from MTV, Hogan Knows Best and Surreal Life from VH1, Avatar and Sponge Bob Square Pants from Nickelodeon, Disorderly Conduct and TNA iMpack from Spike TV, highlights of NASCAR races from TBS, and the Ultimate Fighter and All Access shows from Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Perhaps the biggest buzz will be CBS’s offerings on Xbox Live where Microsoft will offer not only CSI and Survivor episodes for download, but also the newly remastered versions of episodes of the original Star Trek series. A couple of months ago there was quite a lot of attention given to these remastered episodes (currently running once a week on syndicated TV stations) because they not only featured better sound and images but also newly created CGI graphics that replaced the original’s special effects. We have confirmed with Microsoft following our chat with Henson that the Xbox Live episodes of Star Trek will indeed be the new versions with the new CGI effects (not the original versions that are currently running on G4 and TV Land)
The big question is will the millions of Xbox 360 owners (and presumably the millions more that Microsoft hopes will purchase the console this holiday season) jump in to use this new feature, especially with the limitations of the current size of the Xbox 360 hard drive? There’s also the question of hackers who will most likely try to crack Microsoft’s security over these new downloads. And while it’s unlikely that Nintendo will be offering a similar service for their Wii console, you can bet that Sony has similar plans for the PS3 (especially with all of their Sony branded TV shows and movies they have access to). We will soon see if Microsoft’s plans will come to fruition and take away some of the thunder from the PS3 and Wii launches later this month.
As we said earlier, FiringSquad also chatted with Henson on a number of other topics related to the Xbox 360 console and its Xbox Live service. Henson said that Microsoft is excited about the prospects for the launch this week of Gears of War, the long awaited third person action game from developer Epic Games. The other Microsoft first party game for the console this year is Viva Pinata, the kids action game from developer Rare that has already gotten a big boost thanks to the CGI Saturday morning cartoon show on Fox, which Henson said has scored very well in the ratings. In 2007 the Xbox 360 is scheduled to have a number of high profile exclusive and console exclusive titles such as Mass Effect, Crackdown, Forza Motorsport 2, the next Splinter Cell game, BioShock and a little-known shooter sequel called Halo 3 (EBGames and Gamestop stores are already taking pre-orders for three versions of the game one year before its scheduled release). Henson also told us that Microsoft has some secret plans to celebrate the original Halo’s fifth year anniversary on Nov. 15. There are also new hardware add-ons coming out later this year including the much hyped HD-DVD movie drive that’s scheduled to ship to stores this week for $199. On sale right now is a new wireless headset for the console and a new wireless racing wheel is due to be released in the near future.