Reaffirming its strategy to evolve the Xbox 360 into an all-in-one entertainment device, Microsoft debuted an update to its Xbox Live ESPN sports offering Thursday.
The new ESPN on Xbox Live channel adds a number of new or updated features, such as event reminders, sports news notifications, voice controls via Xbox Kinect and an easily accessible college football scoreboard. Perhaps the most notable addition is the ability to watch a live sports game while also checking scores, reading news or even watching a second game via a new split screen feature.
Previously, Xbox Live Gold members had access to sports content from ESPN3, which includes live events and highlights from over 400 college football games, 31 bowl games and 75 exclusive games (about 50 of those happening in the first five weeks of the season). But the user experience wasn’t very impressive, according to avid Xbox gamer, sports nut and Geeks of Doom Managing Editor Jay Dussault.
“It was pretty cool for highlights and such, but most of the live events I found were weird sports like cricket and rugby — sometimes soccer,” Dussault said, adding that he rarely thought to use his Xbox when more exciting sports games were available.
However, the new features available in the update optimize the experience of viewing ESPN3 content on an Xbox.
“The focus on more exciting sports, reminders of what’s on, and the ability to watch split screen paired with the live alerts and Bottom Line (and perhaps having the ability to control it with voice commands via Kinect) make it well worth having for sports nuts,” Dussault said.
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