When Microsoft announced that an official Instagram app would come to the Windows Phone Store “soon”, it also highlighted a few other apps that will make their way to the platform over the next few months, including “Xbox Video.”
According to Tuesday’s post on the Windows Phone Blog, users can expect a new Xbox Video application that gives them “access to a massive library of the latest blockbuster movies and TV Shows.” That’s great news for Windows Phone users who also happen to be Xbox 360 users. While Windows Phone 7 users could rent and purchase television shows and movies in the Zune Software and then sync them back to their PC, Windows Phone 8 devices can’t connect to the Zune Software and Microsoft hasn’t created a way for users to actually play video content from Xbox Video on Windows Phone 8 devices at all.
The blog post also goes out of its way to point out that Windows Phone users would be the only users streaming Xbox Video content “this holiday season.” Perhaps we’re grasping at straws, but that phrasing makes it sound like Xbox Video will come to other smartphone platforms at some point in the future. Microsoft recently launched versions of Xbox Music for iOS and Android, so native video clients for either platform isn’t unprecedented.
It’s pretty interesting that Microsoft would break out Xbox Video into its own separate application. Until now, Music and Video functionality have been included in Windows Phone at the operating system level. Separating Xbox Video into a separate application could just be Microsoft’s way of ensuring that Windows Phone users get access to their content without having to wait for an update to Windows Phone, or it could be the beginning stages of Microsoft separating application functionality from the core of Windows Phone like it’s done with Windows 8.
Microsoft didn’t indicate exactly when users would see the new Xbox Video app in the Windows Phone Store.