Today is a big day for everyone here at Microsoft, as Windows 8 and Surface is now available. If you haven’t had a chance to play around with Windows 8 yet, you should check out the Windows blog on what to expect. If you are an Xbox 360 owners will be using Windows 8 you have a lot of great stuff in store for you and I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of them. Xbox is being delivered as the premium entertainment experience on Windows 8, with four Windows 8-style apps launching today: Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and Xbox SmartGlass. Xbox Games, Xbox Video and Xbox Music are preinstalled and the default experiences on Windows 8 and Xbox SmartGlass is available now as a free download in the Windows Store.
These apps will be available today on Windows 8 tablets and PCs and will become available on Windows Phone 8 when it ships.
The power of companion scenarios come to life in new ways with Xbox SmartGlass, a new free Xbox app which enables your PC, tablet and phone to connect to your Xbox console in an intelligent way. Use your tablet to launch and navigate a movie on your TV and get rich details on the cast, crew and storyline. Pull the movie back to your tablet to finish watching it on the go. Use your phone or tablet as another great remote, and easily navigate your entertainment and menus by simple flicks, gestures and pinch and zoom.
Xbox Music is the ultimate all-in-one music service, and features free streaming music on Windows 8* and Windows RT devices, as well as the ability to buy songs and albums**, an Xbox Music Pass**, artist-based radio via Smart DJ, plus comprehensive discovery from one of the world’s largest music catalogs. It’s a brand-new service, built from the ground up to meet all your music needs across your tablet, PC, phone and TV. Xbox Music is one of three pre-installed Xbox apps in Windows 8.
With Xbox Video, you can browse and search the latest blockbuster movies and last night’s episode of your favorite TV shows, with more than 150,000 movies and TV shows available globally. You can buy a TV episode and rent or buy the movie of your choice. In addition to having access to the latest movies and TV shows, you can also see your videos in your local collection and play them back in a touch-optimized playback experience on your Windows 8 PC or tablet.
Back in August, I posted the list of the first wave of games coming in Windows 8. With Xbox on Windows 8, we created easy entry points into the types of entertainment that you’ll enjoy, including games. The Games app prominently features your Avatar, profile, friends and Gamerscore and allows you to explore your friends’ avatars, compare gamer stats and browse any of the top panels including Spotlight, Games Activity, Windows Games and Xbox Game Marketplace. Through these panels, learn about new games for your Windows 8 PC or tablet, or purchase digital Xbox 360 games and queue them to download on the console. The Games Activity Panel includes all of the games you own, with Xbox LIVE titles played on the console, phone and Windows to help you easily find games with Achievements, leaderboards and a connection to your friends on the Xbox LIVE service.
*On Oct. 26, Xbox Music offers free streaming music on Windows 8 and Windows RT in: France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.
**On Oct. 26, Xbox Music Pass and Xbox Music Store are available in: France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Argentina, Finland, Norway, the U.K. and the U.S.