Microsoft has launched a Web-facing store front for Xbox Video, adding an outlet that will complement its distribution on the just-launched Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PCs and tablets that run Windows 8.1. Microsoft is also developing a version of Xbox Video that will run on Windows Phone.
One shortcoming early on with the Web-based version of Xbox Video is its lack of HD-quality playback, though Microsoft, a spokesperson said, expects to add that feature at a later date, but wasn't more specific. Xbox Video on Windows 8.1 and Xbox One does support HD playback. Microsoft plans to add HD playback on browsers later, but hasn't pinpointed a date.
Xbox Video’s cloud-based video rental and purchasing store currently offers more than 300,000 movies and TV shows. Early on, Xbox Video for the Web is available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States, the company said.
Xbox Video is one of a growing number of services that competes in an electronic sell-through market that includes Apple iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Target Ticket, M-GO, VUDU, and “Flex View,” an EST and VOD platform operated by Verizon Communications. Comcast entered the EST game earlier this month with the launch of the Xfinity TV Store.
Last year, Apple iTunes dominated EST video, owning 65% of the movie market and 67% of the market for EST TV shows in the U.S., according to The NPD Group.
For the period of June through August of this year, iTunes’ share of EST movie pie was 61%, followed by Amazon Instant Video (15%), the Sony PlayStation Store (7%), Vudu and Xbox Video (4% each) and Google Play (3%). Verizon Flex View, with its library of 10,000 movies and 30,000 TV shows, held about 1% of that market during that three-month period, but has found the product to be a churn-buster despite having a relatively thin slice of the overall EST pie.