Microsoft announced last week they will slowly shut down their Xbox Entertainment Studios division, but at the moment it's still in operation. Now a employee at XES, Shane Small, has revealed hints about what the group is doing to add interactive elements to its now original television shows.
Small is the latest guest for the Pointless podcast, a show hosted by Kevin Pereira, the former host of Attack of the Show on the now defunct G4 cable network. Small's chat with Pereira was recorded on Friday, the day after the team learned that Microsoft was shutting down XES, and Small admitted that for the most part they didn't expect to be part of the company's plans to lay off 18,000 of its workers.
Small is still working at his job, and he told Pereira that he is a member of a smaller "skunkworks" team that's developing a series of interactive tools for the shows that were being developed at Xbox Entertainment Studios. While he didn't offer any hard details about those tools, Small hinted that they would have allowed viewers to not only interact with the shows via a "second screen" experience but also use the Xbox One's Kinect camera. Indeed, Small says that an example of that feature may have allowed viewers to actually put their faces in the background of a scene in the show while they watched it via the Kinect add-on.
Microsoft is still developing a couple of their TV projects, including the planned Halo live action TV series, so it's possible that some of those interactive tools Small mentions in the podcast might still be used for that show when it is released. However, it's clear that he and his team had very ambitious plans for adding more interactive elements in Microsoft's planned TV show lineup and it's a shame that those plans will now have to be curtailed.
What do you think about the decision to shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios and do you think Microsoft should have pulled the plug on their interactive TV show plans?
Source: Pointless Podcast