After Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday, there seemed to be a lot of sad people that had been hoping to see Hulu on the Xbox 360 but it is a very safe bet to say that it will NEVER be on the Xbox 360. Here is why…
If Hulu would come to the Xbox 360, it would result in consumer confusion and the cannibalization of Zune Marketplace sales. With the current media options available on the Xbox 360 with the Zune Marketplace and Netflix, it would be pointless to include Hulu on the console. With Netflix, you have a large number of streaming movies (mostly stuff nobody has heard of or cares about but there are still some great movies available for streaming) as well as TV shows that are available in full seasons like Heroes or 30 Rock. This essentially means that it would be pointless for Hulu to be on the console if you were wanting to watch older content from TV shows or movies since it is already present. Unfortunately, Netflix lacks newer content and that is where the Zune Marketplace shines.
The Zune Marketplace allows you to watch shows shortly after they air like you have with other services such as iTunes or Hulu. Since Zune is already providing these shows shortly after they air, it would be pointless to bring Hulu into the fold since it would just be offering the exact same content. This is where the confusion would really set in. With Hulu being a free streaming service and the Zune Marketplace offering paid content, it would confuse many consumers on which to go with as they may think they are getting more if they pay for the content or that the content would be of higher quality. This is the kind of confusion you want to avoid at all costs. Also, offering the same content for free along side a paid version is going to destroy Zune content sales. When given the choice between free or pay when there is little if any difference between the two products, people will choose free.
Finally, getting content from the Zune Marketplace has a big advantage over content for Hulu. When you purchase content on the Zune Marketplace, you are able to play it not only on your Xbox 360, but your Zune and your PC running the Zune software. This is portability that Hulu can’t offer and likely will never be able to offer since the big content producers won’t even let Hulu be accessed on non computer devices such as the PS3.
As long as Microsoft remains heavily invested in the Zune Marketplace and the content producers don’t want Hulu to make their content available on more platforms, we will never see Hulu on the Xbox or any gaming console for that matter.
What do you think? Do you think that Hulu ever has a chance of coming to any console? Would you want Hulu on a console? Share your thoughts in the comments!