Microsoft Pairs Up With Paramount in Xbox 360 Movie Showcase

Paramount Pictures and Microsoft on Wednesday entered into a partnership to push the movie studio’s trailers into the software giant’s Xbox Live service.

Dubbed the Xbox Movie Showcase, the service will feature free, high-definition, downloadable content from two of the most highly anticipated films of the summer: the action-thriller “Mission: Impossible III” and “Nacho Libre,” a comedy starring Jack Black.

“Paramount shares our commitment to providing an entertaining and meaningful gaming experience for Xbox gamers,” said Aaron Greenberg, group marketing manager for Xbox Live. “We’re excited to be starting out on this multi-picture campaign and look forward to continuing to provide compelling entertainment experiences to gamers everywhere.”

Jack in the Xbox

The Xbox Movie Showcase content includes high definition movie trailers, exclusive theme packs, and graphics to allow Xbox gamers to customize their gaming experiences, theming their Xbox Live experience to “M:i:III” and “Nacho Libre.”

In addition, stars of Paramount films, including Jack Black, will participate in Xbox’s “Game with Fame,” where gamers can enter for a chance to play a game online against their favorite celebrities. Taking the program off-line, Paramount’s DVDs will be featured in a Digital Entertainment Lifestyle video promoted across Xbox kiosks in 30,000 retail stores worldwide.

“This groundbreaking agreement takes interactive marketing and digital entertainment to new heights, representing the perfect match between gamers and the summer movies they can’t wait to see,” said Gerry Rich, president of worldwide motion picture marketing at Paramount.

Entertainment Hubs

The Paramount-Xbox deal doesn’t surprise Brian O’Rourke, senior analyst at In-Stat. It seems obvious to him that Microsoft and Sony are slowly transforming their consoles into living room entertainment hubs.

Instead of a standalone game player, for example, Sony and Microsoft both added DVD capability and online capability in their last evolutions. The movie trailer promotion fits in with that entertainment hub strategy.

“Microsoft has been most aggressive with Xbox Live, connecting the Xbox 360 to the Internet for game play and allowing users to download content, either paid or free,” O’Rourke told the E-Commerce Times. “This is really just another step in that process to make what was a video game console into more of a living room entertainment center.”

Building Momentum

Xbox Live momentum has accelerated since Xbox 360 was launched, with more than half of all Xbox 360 owners connecting with the online games and entertainment service with its worldwide community of more than 2 million members, according to Microsoft.

Xbox Live has grown into a social community with 600,000 text messages sent every day between members and its marketplace has reached over 10 million downloads, the company reported. Those numbers come after a slow start out of the gate for the Xbox 360, analysts said.

Microsoft had some problems over Christmas — it didn’t have enough Xbox 360 units on the shelves. Supply chain management cost the company dearly, O’Rourke said, because essentially it had the whole holiday selling season to itself with the newest console on the market.

“Xbox 360 is a new product with new technology, so the slow start is understandable, but next Christmas the Xbox is not going to be there by itself. Newer consoles from Sony and Nintendo will also be there,” O’Rourke noted.

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