At the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates debuted a hulking black box that he thought would one day take over the living room. “Music, television, reading and gaming, none of them will be the same,” he predicted during the keynote speech where he unveiled the original Xbox. “We will soon see an era of extreme entertainment.”
Gates was right. Thirteen years later, the media landscape has fractured into a thousand pieces, and consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to what they read, listen to and watch. Tech companies like Netflix and Amazon are now beating out traditional cable networks for the rights to premium, long-form video content. A show originally distributed via the Internet has won an Emmy Award. And now Microsoft, the company that once seemed hopelessly out of depth trying to make video games, believes it can also conquer the world of television.