Today, ESPN announced that it is bringing live programming from its major properties — ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line — to the Xbox with the official launch of WatchESPN. WatchESPN has been an important part of the sports media behemoth’s cross-platform aspirations, representing a single resource where fans can go to get live ESPN programming on their computers and mobile devices.
Having gained quite a bit of traction on the iPad and Android, ESPN is now looking to do the same for Xbox through an expanded content partnership with Microsoft. The launch of WatchESPN on Xbox means that all of ESPN’s content will be available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who receive these networks “through a video subscription from an affiliated provider.”
This means that anyone who gets ESPN or any of its networks as part of a cable subscription with Time Warner, Bright House, Verizon FiOS, XFINITY (Comcast) or Midcontinent Communications will be able to watch ESPN content live from their Xbox.
Now, instead of getting a half-baked ESPN product on Xbox, this new launch finally gives users the full enchilada, as users now have access to the same content that anyone with a cable box has been enjoying for years. Now users can watch ESPN content without leaving the comfort of their video game console.
WatchESPN for Xbox will include content from ESPN’s staples, like SportsCenter, PTI, First Take, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight, etc., as well as live events from the major sports and beyond. Though with ESPN’s historical breakdown in coverage, don’t expect to be seeing a wealth of hockey showing up anytime soon. The company considers WatchESPN an “interactive sports viewing experience,” which tends to mean different things depending on the platform one is accessing it through.
On Xbox, this means that users have the ability to choose their favorite teams and find games and custom content through that personalization, a “Mini Guide” that gives fans a preview and quick access to live events and highlights, split screen viewing so that you can watch two different games at once and, of course, their ubiquitous “BottomLine” — otherwise known as that ticker that sits at the bottom of the screen, displaying live scores and updates. Oh, and you can set game reminders.
The best part of WatchESPN’s launch on Xbox would be the app’s integration with Kinect, so that fans can navigate through their ESPN viewing with a wave of their hand or a kick of their foot — whichever they prefer — using Kinect as a remote for DVR.
The company also said that ESPN3 will continue to available as its own station to Xbox LIVE Gold members who get their Internet subscription from one of ESPN’s affiliates. List here.