UFC + Xbox = sign of the times?

Still playing a video game console? Pfft. That was so last decade. Things have moved on since then.

If you take just one thing away from Microsoft’s announcements at this year’s E3, it’s that they want you to be doing a lot more with your “video games console” than just playing games. Some of us have been predicting it for years, but it seems the era of the complete multimedia entertainment console is upon us. And the UFC are on-board.

When UFC President Dana White strutted onto the stage during Microsoft’s E3 conference I was expecting something big regarding Undisputed 3. I was wrong. What he did announce was bigger: that the UFC and Microsoft have teamed up to provide a complete UFC streaming experience for Xbox Live.

I say “experience” because that is exactly what they are gunning for. You’ll be able to order and watch fights on demand, but you’ll be make, view and compete in predictions, as well as bring up weigh-in and the scenes videos, and stats too.

Both Microsoft and Sony have been making strides in making more multimedia content available for their powerful and internet-ready consoles, including complete TV shows, films, and full music content. But this signals a whole new breakthrough in what you’ll be able to see and do at the touch of a button, making your satellite or cable box look a little past it in comparison.

The UFC have been aggressively expanding both in terms of promotions – buying out and assimilating competitors including EA MMA partner Strikeforce – and in media dominance, a new partnership with Facebook bringing in potentially millions of new fight fans.

This fits Microsoft’s ambitious new direction like a glove. Having just unveiled their new voice-activation function and announced a huge partnership with Youtube, Microsoft will now be appealing to fans of North America and Great Britain’s fastest growing sport. Exclusively.

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