Microsoft announced a multi-year partnership with the NFL that they say will “deliver truly unique interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve the in-game, sideline experience for coaches, players and other personnel.”
During the unveiling of the Xbox One, Microsoft emphasized the system’s ability to make sporting events interactive by giving the example that a user could watch an NFL game live, see his or her fantasy football league stats displayed and updated in real time during the game and have a group Skype call to trash talk with other fans.
But you won’t be able to get stats from just any fantasy league. Part of the partnership is the development of a new fantasy football league that will allow fans to view their stats during during the game as well as a personalized NFL on Xbox destination that will offer exclusive content about players, teams and games. The Xbox Smartglass App will bring the same experiences to tablets.
Expect to see the Surface tablet appear in the hands of coaches and players. According to Microsoft, “Microsoft and the NFL envision a sideline of the future with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles directly from the sideline and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets instead of today’s static paper products. With Microsoft technology, NFL coaches, players and other personnel will have the technology they need to improve decision-making and on-field performance.”
Which means you can expect to see NFL coaches waving around Surface tablets the way NASCAR drivers chug their soft drink sponsor’s product immediately after finishing a race.
Xbox will remain the “Official Game Console” of the NFL and also become “The Official Interactive Video Entertainment Console.” That’s quite a mouthful, they might consider working on a catchier phrase. Microsoft will be “The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL” and the Surface and Windows have been declared “The Official Tablet and PC Operating System of the NFL.
How long before the players and coaches start angrily demanding the return of the Start Button? Do you like this emphasis on making games more interactive? Let us know.