Yesterday UFC President Dana White made an announcement at the E3 Expo that through a newly redesigned XBox Live platform and interface, UFC events would be available for streaming on the XBox video game console. Mashable has the details:
At its annual E3 press conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft demonstrated the simplified UI, which can be navigated almost entirely through voice commands that will allow for searching through games and accessing online content.
Search on Xbox Live is now powered by Bing. Rather than typing in queries through the controller, Microsoft has opted for voice search. Bing Voice Search lets users flip through movie and game libraries. It doesn’t yet include full web search.
Microsoft also announced that it has finally integrated YouTube into Xbox Live, making it possible to view videos from the world’s largest video website. Microsoft already has Hulu Plus and Netflix on Xbox Live.
The biggest announcement though is the inclusion of live TV on Xbox Live. Thanks to Microsoft partners such as SKY in the UK, Xbox Live now live streams video content. One of Microsoft’s first partners is Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which was announced on stage by UFC President Dana White.
But it's not entirely a passive experience: you'll be able to "call matches," and place bets with your friends to see who of your group bet on the right pugilist.
It's hard to describe this as anything but savvy and completely in tune with the development of online platforms in servicing television needs. It's also a further way to undercut the need for the UFC to work with a pay-per-view distribution partner, although that reality in terms of making money is years away.
This is a similar offering to what the UFC allows for on Roku set-top box, but that platform does not offer user interactivity. The XBox online network, which already promotes interactivity among users, adds a clever wrinkle by adding a layer of investment and enjoyment to the UFC viewing experience.
The details of the deal regarding when the service would become available were not announced, but the UFC will be coming to Xbox Live likely during the holiday season.
Xbox Live subscriptions through the streaming service run users anywhere from $9.99 a month to $59.99 for an entire year.
We don't yet know the pricing scheme for UFC fights on XBox, but it seems unlikely a subscription model will be employed.
More on this story as it develops.