Speaking with The Guardian, Microsoft's Chris Stevenson has announced that the Zune Marketplace - and
everything available on it - is to be made available to Xbox 360 owners.
The move is part of a growing effort by Microsoft to bring their two "entertainment" devices closer together, and is one which will no doubt heighten speculation that the upcoming ZuneHD, also confirmed by Stevenson (due out in the US this fall), will be a bit more serious as a gaming device.
Making the Zune marketplace available to Xbox Live users means that all the store's content - from
music to TV shows to other video content - can now be purchased by Xbox 360 users, with no need for a Zune. It's basically like opening up the Apple Store on the console, except...not quite as good.
Users will be able to stream, rent and download content from the store when it opens in "late autumn" (so late fall), with a variety of pricing and ownership options available.
The catch: the Zune marketplace on 360 won't be available globally. Only the US, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland & Spain will have access to it, so Canadians, Australians and anyone else reading this not on that list, sorry.
We'd expect the finer details of this move to be announced at E3 next week.
UPDATE 1 - It appears that the Guardian piece broke an embargo set down for the story, and in the process got a few things wrong. An official Microsoft press release clarifying the details is on the way, we'll update as soon as we receive it.
UPDATE 2 - OK, the official press release only specifically mentions Zune video content being made available on Xbox Live.
"Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, bringing an exciting catalog of TV and film to the platform. Zune will occupy the first slot within the Xbox user interface in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace, exposing the Zune brand experience to millions of new consumers for the first time. At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next week, attendees will see firsthand how Zune integrates into Xbox LIVE to create a game-changing entertainment experience."
Course, they could announce music at E3, but that seems unlikely. And without a music store, well, this whole media sharing thing is really only of use to Europeans, whose video stores don't have as much content as the Zune store does.
As for that "game-changing" hint, however...that's a little more exciting...
Zune comes to Xbox Live in UK. Plus: ZuneHD to hit US [The Guardian]