It’s probably best that I don’t know when I started doing it. It used to be that watching television or a movie in my living room was a solitary experience. It was something that I did because I needed to get away from the world; I needed to get away from everyone else who wanted to share their ideas and opinions about my favorite characters and storylines. Early this month Microsoft revealed that it’d be kicking solitary viewing experiences in rear when it updates integrates Twitter directly into the Xbox One’s TV app.
“What tosh is this,” I exclaimed out loud to my girlfriend — because I often watch way too much British drama & have picked up their slang. “Why would anyone actually want a giant bar covering the bottom of the while they’re trying to watch their favorite shows,” I thought. Then I looked down and realized that while watching the latest episode of True Life I’d been sending out periodic tweets. In true Travis fashion, none of them were particularly insightful and none offered in real critiques about the show other than a few jokes about one of the show’s two couples crying every few minutes.
Microsoft says that sometime between now and the end of the year it’ll launch an Xbox One Update that supports Twitter integration with the TV app for those of us who reside in the United States. Essentially, Microsoft is turning the OneGuide into a Twitter reader. The OneGuide will include Twitter hashtags for specific programs. Any comments shared with that hashtag will appear on user’s screens. The OneGuide will then use those hashtags to tell users what shows are popular at that very moment.
“A commercial break turns into a quick and easy opportunity to see what other viewers are tweeting about without pulling out your phone, swiping at a tablet, or taking your attention away from your TV.”
Of course, all of this assumes that there are people, real people out there who want to watch television with others who aren’t in the same room. Those people are real and I’m one of them. I can’t vouch for whether they own an Xbox One or not, but that’s a different conversation for another time. I haven’t bothered to figure out what percentage of my audience on Twitter is Xbox users and Microsoft watchers, or people waiting for me to make fun of what’s on cable news.
What I can say is that, this Twitter integration is a great example of what Microsoft does well lately. Looking at what real users do and building experience around those scenarios.
Microsoft is choosing to work with Twitter rather than building these features into Xbox One & Xbox Live themselves. I sometimes complain loudly that Xbox Live doesn’t cater much to anyone who wants to do more than play Halo, that there’s no way for music or video fans to showcase the stuff they’re listening to and enjoying like there was with Zune.
I hope there’s more to come of this type of integration to come and I look forward to annoying everyone following me on Twitter with this integration at some point soon. Twitter be integrated into Xbox Live is brilliant, provided those who don’t care about my opinion on Teen Moms can turn it off.