Xbox One Will Soon Let You Play Pirated Movies & TV Shows

It's not the kind of news that makes the headlines during a press conference, but it is the kind of news that can help sell systems: the Xbox One is getting native, official support for .mkv, one of the world's most popular video formats (well, containers).

Let's get real: while they have many technical benefits, mkv files are popular because they're the format of choice for anyone who is, ahem, downloading a movie or TV show from a place where they may or may not be paying for it.

So Microsoft deciding to support the format with the Xbox One is a big deal! If you've got a digital video library full of mkv files, and you don't already have a dedicated and simple means of watching them, the Xbox One is literally going to let you drop an mkv on a USB stick, plug it into the console (or stream the file over your network) and watch it.

The PS3 kinda let you do this, with a few workarounds (mainly from services like PS3 Media Server), and that capability helped sell consoles. The PS4 isn't as multimedia-friendly as its predecessor (yet), so it sure seems like Microsoft is stepping in where Sony left a gap in the market.

The means to do this will be coming later this year when a new media player app is released for the Xbox One. Which, for those inclined, will also let the console play animated gif files. Below is the full announcement from Microsoft:

Media Player – A new app will be available soon that enables users to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols. The preview version of the Media Player app will initially only support USB devices, with DLNA support coming soon. Xbox One will support more formats than Xbox 360, including support for dozens of new file formats like mpeg 2 TS, animated gifs and mkv which will be added by the end of the year. See below for additional file formKats.

Xbox One to get far better at playing pirated TV shows [Ars Technica]