With exclusive deals already in place with both the NFL and ESPN, Microsoft is betting big on sports when it comes to selling its new Xbox One system as a gamer’s all-in-one entertainment device. So it should come as no surprise that with the World Cup right around the corner, Microsoft has plans to enhance the viewing action by offering a more interactive way to watch the biggest matches of the tournament thanks to its new Destination Brazil feature, offering everything from a new snap app that displays scores and stats, to original programming, to even a new mode in FIFA 14 so gamers can continue the World Cup experience, even when the real games have come to an end.
“We think we have a program here that’s really going to reward both gamers and soccer/football fans globally,” says Matt Reid, one of the project managers of this new feature. “We enhance how people watch the matches, we deliver interactive content fans can only get on Xbox, and we also deliver the best soccer gaming with FIFA. This is about delivering the ultimate football experience on our platform in a way that only Microsoft can deliver.”
With the Brazil Now app, stats, scores, and even goal alerts snap around the live action on screen, complete with polls and even a live Twitter feed, enabling fans to feel more connected to the World Cup community as they watch a match through their regular cable or satellite provider. Better yet, you don’t even need to be watching the World Cup to have the app live, enabling you to Skype, watch a movie, or play a video game, leaving the app open in order to keep up with everything World Cup even when you’re not actively viewing a game.
In addition, Destination Brazil enables gamers with FIFA 14 to launch straight into the new FIFA 14 Ultimate Team: FIFA World Cup mode. This is an expansion to the popular Ultimate Team experience, enabling soccer fans to collect cards of players from all 32 National Teams in order to build their own dream team. Within the new mode, players can compete in both online and single-player games in order to conquer the knockout phase and win the FIFA World Cup. And with each match players win, they earn additional coins that can be used to purchase card packs of new players, strengthening their squad as they compete against some of the best FIFA gamers from across the world.
“Another big part of Destination Brazil will be the original programming,” says Reid. “We want to rally around the passion of soccer fans, focusing on street soccer.”
“Every Street United” premieres June 15, and is an unscripted series starring Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids, as they travel around the world in search of undiscovered street soccer stars, giving the lucky prospects a chance to compete in a 4v4 street game in Rio de Janeiro.
New episodes will air every Sunday, with the finale airing August 3.
With snap and the different features of our console, we feel like we can deliver a better sports experience. This is something we really feel passionate about and something we’ve tried to build up with our relationships with ESPN and the NFL, so we’re really excited about this. It enables us to do more around live viewing. Sports is one of the last things that really prop up a reason to tune into live TV, and we have some really neat and interesting things that we can do that we’re really excited to bring to market.
This program engages both the super active soccer fan as well as the passive soccer fan because it engages you as things are happening in the match. When red cards happen, a poll will ask you if the referees got it right, and you can see how everyone else in the community is reacting as things are happening. Bringing that social aspect and interactivity to live sports is something that really hasn’t been done in a singular place.