Woody Allen once said, “I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100.”
This Saturday marks 365 days of Xbox One retail availability. When the console was announced at E3 2013, Microsoft promised HBO GO by the holiday season. Assumption got the better of us silly Xbox owners, thinking such statements implied Holiday 2013. Surely, the announcement, existential in nature, was referring to a full year after the console launched.
One of the most highly sought video-on-demand solutions, Netflix aside, is HBO Go. It is now on Xbox One, but after several delays and blatantly misleading PR, the release seems tainted. Rather than a grateful reception of the service, the sentiment is akin to that disgruntled thanks your incompetent coworker receives as they complete a report which they promised to turn in 18 months ago.
WHY THE DELAYS
In March 2012, an app was made available for the Xbox 360. It took two years for Sony’s PlayStation 3 to receive the service. And when it did, one major cable operator refused to participate, blocking its PS3 customers from using the service through that platform. That carrier, who also blocks Roku devices from accessing HBO GO, is Comcast Xfinity. As America’s largest cable provider, it would be fair to assume they’ve played a large role in the long delays.
Any negotiator will acknowledge that having leverage is to your advantage. In this situation, the only company wielding any power in those talks was the cable provider. In fact, it would seem that relations between HBO and Comcast had become very one-sided, with HBO feeling they needed to offer their catalog directly to consumers. If HBO can be successful with their upcoming streaming package, they will have another fight on their hands as Comcast is also America’s largest internet provider (in subscriptions).
It can further be surmised that Comcast is strong arming Microsoft for stuff, be it discounted licensing, user information, new technology, and vastly greater things beyond the scope of public knowledge.
What were they going to extort Roku or Sony for? Bankruptcy & Walkmans?