Microsoft's Xbox to add 45 new entertainment apps, big Twitter push

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Microsoft said Wednesday that 45 new entertainment apps are due on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 platforms this year, including key apps from Twitter, HBO, and Showtime. But there’s no guarantee they’ll arrive anytime soon.

A day after Microsoft began pushing an update that made entertainment apps free on the Xbox platform—as PCWorld had previously encouraged them to do—Microsoft revealed that a number of new apps are due for the Xbox later this year, including what appears to be a tight integration with Twitter. The additional apps will bring the console’s total to more than 225 apps worldwide.

But Microsoft also gave itself quite a bit of wiggle room as well: “by the end of the holiday season,” Microsoft said in a blog post, lumping all of the new apps into a single, enormous release window.

Microsoft has said previously that users are spending more and more time using the Xbox platform for entertainment apps like movies, rather than playing games. At the Xbox One’s launch, Microsoft executives actually emphasized the console’s entertainment capabilities over actual games, angering some fans. Since the launch, the Sony PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One, although the combined Xbox 360/Xbox One console platform has outsold the PlayStation family. In the meantime, Microsoft has explored discounting games while also slashing $100 off the One’s price to $400.

Big Twitter push

One of the challenges when watching TV is simply deciding what to watch. One solution has been Thuuz, which ranks the excitement of various live sports matches as they’re being played. (Neither the Xbox One nor the Xbox 360 will support Thuuz.) But Microsoft has turned to Twitter as a popularity gauge, instead, with something called Watch with Twitter, which will highlight “trending shows.”

“Twitter will be optimized for the biggest screen in your house in a smart, contextual way—offering the ability to see Tweets related to the cable or satellite TV shows you’re watching as they’re happening,” Microsoft said in its blog post. “Additionally, the Twitter experience on Xbox One will be integrated into the TV listings section of OneGuide where you will be able to see the shows that people are tweeting about in real-time.”

A Vine app will also appear on the Xbox One, Microsoft said.

xbox one

When are they due?

But while Microsoft outlined a number of big names authoring apps for the One and the 360, you may as well forget they’re coming. Aside from the MLG e-sports app, already released on the Xbox 360 and due on the One in a few weeks, Microsoft left the timing of the others vague.

Microsoft at least confirmed that a version of the HBO GO app will arrive on the Xbox One before the end of the holiday season, along with a corresponding STARZ Play app for Starz. The list of upcoming apps for the One also includes Comedy Central, EPIX, MTV, NBA, NHL, Popcornflix, SyFy Now, Vevo, and more. But other popular channel apps, such as the Showtime Anytime app for Showtime and Watch ABC and Watch Disney Channel, will only appear on the Xbox 360 for now.

As for its game plans, Microsoft will announce more details at its E3 keynote on June 9, where it will have to lure back a fanbase that it owned during the Xbox 360 generation. 

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