Dear Microsoft: Get Netflix on the Xbox 360 and I’ll Buy One

NetflixLast week plenty of rumors were floating around about a potential Microsoft / Netflix partnership. The announcement was supposedly going to happen during the keynote address (by Xbox Live exec John Schappert) at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco last Wednesday. The concept: make it so Netflix’s 7,000 available “Watch Instantly” movies would be viewed easily on your TV via the Xbox 360.

But sadly, this rumor didn’t prove to be accurate (yet); no such announcement was made even if the excitement surrounding the news was anything but restrained. Just check out the comments on any of the sites I linked to above. I couldn’t find anyone thinking this possibility was a bad idea for the consumer. Instead, there was plenty of this:

  • “I don’t even use Netflix right now, but I would sign up in a second if I could stream their catalog to my 360! Do it now!!!” (via Gizmodo)
  • “I would reactivate my NetFlix account if this was going to happen soon.” (via Gizmodo)
  • “I’d probably sign up for Netflix again if this happens. What about you guys?” (via CrunchGear)
  • “I would definitely get netflix again if I could get it over my 360.” (via CrunchGear)
  • “I totally agree. I have often considered Netflix but never did it for one reason or another. THIS, sells me.” (via Engadget)
  • “This would force me to buy a subscription. Do it netflix. You’ll be rolling in $$$.” (via Engadget)

Now, it’s interesting to note that most comments focused on this being a benefit for Netflix (in terms of gaining new customers). Microsoft has already been renting movies through its Xbox Live service for over a year even if the catalog is pretty weak: 300 movies. But I’m doubting that feature has been behind many Xbox 360 purchases.

Netflix, on the other hand, currently has 7,000 movies and TV shows available via its Watch Instantly service. That may seem small compared to the more than 90,000 DVDs in its library, but that 7,000 is on the rise and has more than doubled since the online service went live a little over a year ago. Plus, it’s still a much larger library than most other video-on-demand services available through cable companies.

Of course, most all the sources I quoted above include a relatively tech savvy audience already likely to have an Xbox 360. And I personally think the potential (again, in terms of gaining new customers) is just as strong for Microsoft and wanted to take the chance to agree with this MSNBC article:

“But Netflix is a household name. My parents have a Netflix membership. The company has fended off (at least so far) competitive attempts by everyone from Wal-Mart to Blockbuster. And it has 7.5 million subscribers, many of whom might be convinced to buy an Xbox 360 for the sheer convenience of true on-demand movies – and to not have to mail back those DVDs anymore.” (emphasis added).

An interesting statistic would be just how much overlap there is between the two currently (i.e., how many people are already both an owner of an Xbox 360 and a member of Netflix). For now, all I can say is that I am a Netflix member and would buy an Xbox 360 if this rumor came true. Anyone else?

  • I’m guessing that most of the people screaming for Netflix on Xbox 360 haven’t realized they can already watch Amazon Unbox videos. No there aren’t as many titles as Netflix yet, but the world’s largest seller of DVDs is certainly not going to hold back in acquiring every title they can add to their rental library.

  • Hi Jake,

    Two issues: 1) Though it could be worse, the “first you need to configure this and that” setup you describe is way too complicated for plenty outside the tech crowd and just isn’t nearly as convenient as the way Netflix would automatically work via Xbox Live.

    And 2) The Netflix subscription model is something not available via Amazon Unbox. Part of the reason people love Netflix so much is because they don’t have to pay what feels like an exuberant fee per movie.

  • Paul Ellis

    If this can happen, it would be a win-win for Microsoft and Netflix. I’m sure a lot of Netflix users would lean heavily toward an Xbox 360. There are two problems though. First one is probably that Microsoft is concerned that Netflix’s offering will compete with its own. This is probably overblown though since there is little/no overlap between the content offered by Netflix and Xbox Live. Second, Netflix may be limited by the content providers in how they can distribute the video they have licensed, which would require a new agreement. I’m guessing that it is problem #2 that is proving to be the most difficult to overcome.

  • dmoseder

    Netflix may also be coming to the Playstation 3.

  • Paul Ellis

    I’ve seen the reports about the survey that Netflix was doing that asked about the Xbox 360 and the PS3. I’d bet money that the Xbox 360 is going to be the first gaming platform to support Netflix for one reason though. Netflix uses Microsoft’s DRM platform, and the Xbox 360 supports it already. It would/will be a lot more development work to implement Microsoft’s DRM stack on the PS3.

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  • This is just some hoax like Big Foot. I'm disappointed a big company would even do that as I suspect it's an insider job. Do you remember the last time this viral email going around saying Bill Gates is going to pay every single person money if they forwarded an email? Sounds like Dejavu.

  • SEO

    Netflix on the Xbox 360 is little confusing…

  • SEO

    Netflix on the Xbox 360 is little confusing and seems to be very problematic..

  • SEO

    Netflix on the Xbox 360 is little confusing and seems to be very problematic..