Kicking Off E3 in Blockbuster Style? Microsoft and Hulu Kiss and Sort of Tell


hulu-xbox-360-social-nerdia-2There are several hints about Hulu streaming on the Xbox 360 (remember that Microsoft used the 2008 E3 to announce Netflix streaming) and this rumor is running on a few comments made by Microsoft itself.

Don Mattrick, Microsoft's senior VP for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, made an interesting statement about the upcoming E3 in an ESA press release last month:
Microsoft is gearing up for a big presence at E3 which will completely transform how people think about home entertainment. We're excited about the momentum that is building in the industry in anticipation of our June 1st media briefing, which will kick off E3 in blockbuster style."

Back in December, Microsoft's Shane Kim told The New York Time's Bits that the Xbox does not have an Internet browser as that would make them just another pipe delivering content in different ways, and that people watching video online are concentrating on sites like YouTube and Hulu. He also said:
Netflix is the first major strategic partnership to open up the platform. We are just beginning to scratch the surface.”

In addition, Gizmodo has a recent post pointing out Olivia Munn's tweet in which she mentions a Hulu/Microsoft promo on June 8th. June 8th is a bit later than the June 2nd to June 4th E3 Expo, and according to a Gizmodo update on the same post, Olivia was supposedly actually talking about a promo for Bing, Microsoft's new search engine launching on June 3rd.

The comments by Mattrick and Kim, combined with the very random Munn tweet, sound like Hulu is coming to the Xbox 360. Kicking off E3 in "blockbuster style" and "transforming how people think about home entertainment" does not make me think of Bing whatsoever.

Thinking from a product and consumer point of view, it completely makes sense fort Microsoft to partner with Hulu, which is already making its way to a TV-like experience through Hulu Desktop. Hulu would finally make it into a large amount of living rooms and Microsoft would give consumers one more reason to skip Sony's Playstation and the Nintendo Wii. Current users for both platforms would be thrilled and that builds loyalty worth making a big deal out of at E3.

The business side of things requires a lot more than two companies simply shaking hands. Monetizing this through a partnership has its issues (keep in mind that Netflix charges users to stream movies while Hulu is ad-supported), but there is definitely a huge amount of value in bridging the online video streaming world with living room interactive gaming. Hulu and Microsoft might kiss and tell at this E3, but if they don't, they both better expect a competitor to try to go for it.

We'll just have to wait till Microsoft's E3 press briefing on June 1st (or E3 itself on the 2nd).

Copyright © Esteban Contreras. All rights reserved.