TV viewing on the Xbox One is about to get more social. Microsoft plans to let U.S. users follow TV-related Twitter conversations directly from the console's UI.
TV and tweets go together, according to Microsoft and Twitter
Later this year, Microsoft and Twitter will bake the microblogging service into the TV channel listings displayed by the Xbox One.
"Twitter will be directly integrated into Xbox One's TV experience in the U.S.," announced Microsoft in a blog post.
Users won't have to reach for a smartphone or tablet to keep up with Twitter conversations surrounding TV shows as they air. "Twitter will be optimized for the biggest screen in your house in a smart, contextual way—offering the ability to see Tweets related to the cable or satellite TV shows you're watching as they're happening," added the company.
In a video
previewing the new functionality, Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry Hryb revealed that Microsoft and Twitter are working on embedding "a custom Twitter experience" into the Xbox One program guide. In addition, the companies plan to launch a new "Trending" section that displays the most tweeted about TV shows.
As a show is in progress, pressing the View button on the controller will sprout a mini guide filled with related tweets. "In the mini guide, you can see the conversation that is happening on Twitter through the stream that includes relevant hashtags for each show, the official Twitter handles and tweets from the cast and crew," said Hryb.
It also promises to be an interactive experience, said Hryb. "From within the tweet stream, you can favorite and re-tweet directly from your Twitter account." Viewing tweets will not require users to be logged into Twitter, he noted.
"We're enhancing that experience on the Xbox One with a unique Watch with Twitter integration," Jana Messerschmidt, vice president of business development and platform at Twitter, said in a statement. "It will now be easier to discover what shows are trending in real-time on Twitter, tune-in and follow the conversation right from within the Xbox One interface."
The news comes after Microsoft this week issued an update that allows all users to access streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. Previously, such apps were only available to members of the paid Xbox Live Gold multiplayer and matchmaking service.
Xbox One's Loss Is Windows' Gain
Microsoft also announced that Kinect for Windows v2, a motion sensor based on the peripheral that currently ships with the Xbox One, is available for preorder
by developers. "Sensors purchased during the preorder phase will be shipped in July, at which time we will also release a public beta of our software development kit (SDK)," pledged the company in a statement.
Last month, the company announced that it would start unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One
on June 9. The new, lower-cost Xbox One base SKU will cost $399 compared with the $499 that the full bundle commands at retail.