The Xbox 360 version of the iPlayer has to be something special to pull people away from watching it on their computers, says Microsoft’s Stephen McGill.
This time last year, sources suggested that talks between the BBC and Microsoft over the former’s iPlayer appearing on Xbox Live – as it does on the PS3 and Wii – had ground to a halt, but according to McGill, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The sticking point last year was apparently the fact that Microsoft wanted to limit access to the iPlayer to just Xbox Live Gold subscribers, which is something that the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, cannot agree to. McGill made no mention of this alleged disagreement, instead saying that Microsoft’s primary concern was making the Xbox Live version sufficiently enticing that people would choose the console version over the simply watching it on their computers. He implied that the BBC was unwilling to help with this effort, which was the reason for the delay.
McGill added that while the Xbox 360 didn’t have the iPlayer, it did have an arrangement with Sky to show live television via Xbox Live, and that, coupled with the Zune store, meant that the assortment of TV and movies on the console was very robust. He said that Microsoft’s arrangement with Sky was the same kind of deal he hoped that Microsoft could reach with the BBC, where the service integrated the unique features of Xbox Live, like party modes and avatars.
Microsoft might still be talking to the BBC, but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to reach an agreement any time soon. In fact, it seems safe to assume they never will as it would require Microsoft to change its policy about Xbox Live, or for the BBC to break the law.