Xbox, Blu-ray help hermits host online movie parties.
|By Blu-ray, Sony, Microsoft, XBox 360 on Jul. 17, 2008||Tweet|
There was a lot of buzz this week about the fact that Netflix partnered with Microsoft so you can watch streaming movies on an XBox 360. (If you're a paying XBox Live Gold subscriber.) But one aspect was a bit overlooked, probably because it sounds a little silly at first.
Thanks to the "Live Party" feature that Microsoft recently added, you'll be able to watch the Netflix movies in real time with your online friends. Here's a nice summary from CrunchGear:
You’ll be able to stream whatever Netflix content you’re watching to the rest of the people in your Live Party group — groups can contain up to eight people, and everyone will be watching the movie or TV show at the same time, which oughta further alleviate the need to actually leave your house to interact with people face to face.
As a boring, baby-maintaining adult who needs five days to watch a two-hour movie, I personally find this to be a pretty worthless feature. But there's no denying that it could be popular with the same crowd that has made XBox Live such a massive hit. If you're already spending hours playing games online with your friends, why is it so different to watch a movie together?
And as I mentioned in the headline, Microsoft isn't alone in this idea.
Sony and Disney have partnered to create a Blu-ray DVD version of "Sleeping Beauty" that allows you to interact in several ways with others watching the movie. From The New York Times:
Viewers can watch the movie in tandem with friends in other locations and chat using a laptop, P.D.A. or cellphone. (Comments appear on the screen.) Parents who are not able to watch the film with their children can record a video message that will pop up during a designated scene as the child watches. Viewers will also be able to compete against others around the world at trivia.
All of these activities are possible because of a technology that connects Blu-ray discs with the Internet, which the entertainment industry is calling BD Live. Disney and other studios, including Lionsgate and Sony, believe that BD Live could be Blu-ray’s killer app, potentially altering the tepid response that consumers have given Blu-ray to date.
(Hat tip to Andy Dunbar at Social Media Update.)
So what do you think? Is this "virtual movie night" a sign that we're becoming less social creatures, or more?