E3: Xbox Live Gets Exclusive ESPN Partnership, Video Chat

Once it was done showing off the shiny new installments of Metal Gear Solid and Halo at their E3 media presentation today, Microsoft (s MSFT) announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN. Now via Xbox Live, more than 3,500 live sporting events will be available in the first year, with many of them also available in HD, to Xbox Gold subscribers at no additional cost. Xbox Gold membership costs $50 a year, which is nothing compared to the typical monthly cable bill.

The hosts of "SportsCenter" announce the Xbox/ESPN partnership. Photo via @georgeruiz.

College football, basketball, NBA, MLB and soccer coverage are just part of the package. The in-screen interactivity will include trivia and polling.

Kinect for Xbox 360 was also demoed, and one of the features of the controller-free gaming system will be video chat. (Given that the optics used by the device to track the user’s movements are sophisticated enough to recognize faces and take photos, it’s a bit of integration that makes sense.)

VideoKinect not only allows those with the Kinect add-on device to communicate in real-time via their televisions, but will also connect them with Microsoft Live Messenger users chatting via video. And if they get bored of talking to each other about life, chatters can also use a Bing-based media engine to share and watch media together.

More E3 magic to come, including (maybe) the rumored Xbox/Hulu partnership!

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