Yesterday, Microsoft released details about its next console, the Xbox One. It was also revealed that they reached an agreement worth $400M that will allow fans to watch NFL games via Xbox Live in a way that is more interactive than anything we have seen before.
Fans will be able to access real time stats and highlights, check fantasy stats and scores, and video chat with each other via Skype all from a single screen. Apps will also be available for mobile devices and tablets to further enhance the experience. Of course, this interactivity will surely come at a price. As it stands, and Xbox Live Gold Membership is $70 a year which, to me, is well worth the potential experience in addition to the other benefits of having a Gold subscription.
Microsoft's plans for innovating the NFL do not stop at just the home viewing experience, though. Microsoft also plans to enhance the sideline experience for players and coaches through the use of tablet technology. The goal is to allow coaches to break down formations and replays more efficiently as they develop, moving from the method of still photos into something more real-time as well as improve the methods used by replay officials in reviewing calls on the field. Obviously, there will need to be boundaries as far as how much coaches and players will be allowed to see and access with this technology, as it could make it easier for the Bill Belicheck's of the league to cheat their way to the top. It should be very interesting to see exactly how this new technology will affect the game as we know it.