With this generation of consoles, all Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have made significant strides in making each of their respective machines an integral part of the living room. It started with movie downloads, but now encompasses everything from live-streamed TV (including Sky TV programmes), integration with rental services such as Blinkbox, LOVEFiLM and Netflix and implementation of social networking.
Now, Microsoft appears to be planning a full-frontal assault on the living room experience. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the console-maker a patent on 27 December relating to “an integrated gaming and media experience” to allow content to be recorded on a gaming console. The full patent (No. 8,083,593) goes as follows:
"A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on."
The most interesting part of the patent comes in the line “...can include television programming, gaming experience, music, DVDs, and so on”, which – although it might be Microsoft just covering all potential bases – suggests players will be able to record actual gameplay and share their favourite moments with friends. Of course, news regarding the next crop of consoles is still very much in the cyclical current of the rumour mill. Still, the successor to the 360 promises to be something truly special.