Microsoft acquires R2 studio for the Xbox division, PlayStation 3 to get EPIX app

January 6, 2013

Microsoft acquires R2 studio for the Xbox division, PlayStation 3 to get EPIX appMicrosoft recently acquired R2 Studios, In a move that would further progress Microsoft’s agenda of moving into the living room. The start-up company specializes in home automation that ties into mobile devices. Incidentally, the studio will be folded into the Xbox division, leading many to speculate on the purpose of the studio.

According to the Wall Street Journal [via GI.biz], Apple and Google have been vying for R2 Studios, when Microsoft swooped in and quickly snatched up the company. The start-up has already padded its portfolio with several patents that allows mobile devices to adjust heating and lighting systems in smart homes.

According to GI.biz, Microsoft snatched up R2 enticed by the company’s patents. Interestingly, Microsoft has decided to roll the studio into the Xbox division, which could tie into the Xbox 720.

R2 Studios was founded by Blake Krikorian, founder of Slingbox before selling it off. He also sat on the board at Amazon before resigning recently.

In other news, EPIX, the premium content provider announced plans to launch its app on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The app will launch sometime during the first quarter of 2013 and will provide subscribers with more than 3,000 films and TV shows.

The EPIX app will be available to PlayStation®Network members in the United States as a free download from PlayStation®Store.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Sony Computer Entertainment to offer subscribers a unique and unparalleled experience. This is another important step in our mission to provide the best content in every way consumers want it, creating better entertainment experiences using our premium content, and by working with technology partners and our distribution partners,” said Mark Greenberg, EPIX CEO and President.

“Our core audience has demonstrated a tremendous appetite for streaming movies and TV shows through their PS3, and we’re excited to bring EPIX into the homes of millions of PS3 owners in the U.S. as well as to PlayStation fans on-the-go through their PS Vita,” said Phil Rosenberg, SVP, Strategic Business Development, SCEA.

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22 Responses to “Microsoft acquires R2 studio for the Xbox division, PlayStation 3 to get EPIX app”

  1. ncaissie:

    Who cares? Not me, I hate these useless apps.
    Put apps on the Canadian ps’s that we can’t or don’t use.

  2. MAK:

    I probably wont use this, but its still good that PS3 has a better variety of video apps to choose from.
    …except if you live in Canada.

    Sorry ncassie.

  3. phranctoast:

    This is dumb. You need to already be subscribed to it through your tv service provider making an app on the ps3 redundant. If there was a way to pay for this separately it’s value would increase.

  4. Godless:

    Phranc.

    You’re kind of missing the point.

    You still need an additional device to make Apps work on a very high percentage of TVs. that’s why MS & Sony are working hard to get them onto their consoles. Most people will want to have just one “box” that will pretty much do everything they want.

    Once smart TVs become more widespread, the need for an additional “box” will disappear, but until then, MS & Sony will want to make their machine the “Do it all” device to own.

  5. phranctoast:

    @godless

    No!. I’m not missing any point. You can use the cable box that you get with the service provider. Derp ;)

    That’s my point. These Apps on anything that’s not mobile is completely redundant. Just like HBO GO on the 360.

    You can only get it if you already have HBO or EPIX, making it’s existence silly at best.

    Now.. Like I already said.. If you can use these without the said TV subscription they would be useful but you can’t so they’re not.

  6. ncaissie:

    What if they make the next box, PS4 with a built in tuner?
    I would love that.

  7. Godless:

    Phranc

    “No!. I’m not missing any point. You can use the cable box that you get with the service provider. Derp ”

    Yup. . . like I said. . .you’re missing the point.

  8. Godless:

    Cassie

    I did read somewhere that the xbox will be able to record TV, but I’m not sure if this means it will have a built in tuner, or or if it has some kind of input to record from an external source.

  9. phranctoast:

    Then please enlighten me.

    If you have a TV, it is extremely likely that you have a cable box from the TV provider hooked up to that TV. If you don’t you’re simply not getting what you pay for from that TV.

    You obviously don’t know how things operate here in the states.

  10. phranctoast:

    I have the SHO Anytime App on my phone. Don’t care that I don’t have it on my PS3, because, if I want to watch Showtime on Demand on my TV, I simply switch to that. They have all the same content!!!!!

    You have to pay for it on you TV anyway. Do you understand redundancy?

  11. twilight:

    I see both views on this. This may be convient as Godless states for some people who have multiple tv’s and limited cable boxes who want to use other devices. Although, in the scheme of things, I tend to share the same view as Phranctoast. Unless you can subscribe to the channels independently, it is redundant because you do have to have a cable box to use these services anyways. I think the main reason that they don’t allow this is because they know this would kill the cable market. There would be many people who would dump cable altogether and just subscribe directly to subscriptions like Hbo and Epix.

  12. phranctoast:

    “There would be many people who would dump cable altogether and just subscribe directly to subscriptions like Hbo and Epix.”

    Exactly.

  13. Roca.:

    Will this kill the Vita?

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/7/3845282/nvidia-announces-project-shield-handheld-gaming-system

  14. Roca.:

    I recently bought Justified Season 1 and 2 on Bluray ($15/each) and I really liked the show…I was looking online to buy Season 3 for about the same price, the BD version was going for $35+ and the Amazon Instant Video has the HD version for $17.99 so I thought “hey, why not?”

    …that’s a decision I regretted 10 mins into the 1st episode…I contacted Amazon and told I was not happy with the picture and sound quality after watching the first 2 season on Bluray…Amazon was kind enough to give a full refund. I’m going to buy on Bluray whenever I see it for around $20

    From now on I’ll never choose digital over Bluray (when “buying” movies/TV shows)…I can

  15. MAK:

    @Roca

    I doubt it will.

    When vita was announced, we all speculated it would take over the handheld market. Why wouldn’t it? The hardware was great.
    But look at it now. It barely moved anyone, which is a shame.

    It’s all about how well you can attract people to the product, whether the product is shitty or not. It’s not about the product itself, even if the product is amazing.

    About the Amazon thing: whenever you’re thinking about getting something in HD, just remember: Go big or go home.

  16. phranctoast:

    http://m.kotaku.com/5973889/youre-not-the-only-one-comparing-nvidias-new-handheld-to-the-n+gage

  17. twilight:

    Roca,
    Blu Ray discs have the best picture and audio quality. However, these days I don’t mind buying digital movies and tv shows off Amazon and Vudu. I buy more digital stuff off Amazon because Amazon has hard to find movies like Devil Times Five and the service is cheaper overall then most digital services. I like the fact that Amazon doesn’t charge me any tax on my purchases. Also, I can only get certain tv shows in hd on digital because the shows are not available in hd on blu ray but they are available in hd in the digital streaming format only. However, if I have to have the best movie quality for something, I will buy the blu ray disc or hdx only.

  18. ncaissie:

    @roca
    That looks sweet. I’m in. The vita has been shit for me. Although enjoying Raman now.
    @phranc
    Those people are stupid. They don’t look anything alike.

  19. Roca.:

    @twilight

    If I’m going to “own” something, I’d want it to be the highest quality available (I’d give Netflix and Amazon Prime a pass since I’m not owning the content I watch from them)

  20. CarlB:

    “we all speculated it would take over the handheld market.”

    Not here.

    “Why wouldn’t it?”

    As I said back then, the price point is too high for mass adoption, and many people are utilizing their smartphones/tablets more for gaming now than ever before. Even though I think dedicated handheld gaming is still superior to mobile, I would say a lot of people only have a few minutes spare time on the go, and if they have longer, a lot of times mobile suffices for their gaming needs until they can get home to their console.

    Even though mobile phone/tablet isn’t as good an experience, it can be good enough for the time they have. And again, as earlier last year, it seems people prefer to carry one device (their smartphone) or two (including their tablet/laptop) which takes priority in capabilities as opposed to a dedicated handheld.

    Granted, Vita is gaining capabilities, but still has a long way to catch up with even an average smartphone for basic functionality beyond gaming.

    In addition, the majority of the games offered on Vita are not significantly unique enough experiences over what can already be had on the home console people own.

    Yes, there are some who wish to take that game on the road with them, but I would say just as many are willing to wait to enjoy the full experience at home. There are exceptions, but I don’t think nearly enough to gain mass adoption.

    Sony still needs to drop the price if they want Vita to gain more sales, just as Nintendo did w/3DS.

    Beyond that, the library is still lacking, and recent high profile titles such as CoD BOD (receiving the lowest reviews of any title from the year) haven’t helped it along much.

    I agree, the hardware is great, it just needs to come down in price further so more people buy it and more developers have greater incentive to make games for it.

  21. MAK:

    @CarlB

    I agree with you, but youre missing the point.

    When the vita was announced, the 250 price point was good.
    With the hardware inside of it, everyone was thinking it would be really expensive.
    The 3DS was more expensive, and so was the iPad and all smartphones.

    With that logic, one would think the Vita would take over the Handheld (Gaming) market.

    But it didn’t, little kids continued asking for the overrated, and over priced 3DS.

    Like i said, it doesnt matter how good something is, its all about the demographic and well you hypnotize them with advertising.

  22. CarlB:

    To your point, Nintendo’s had a long history of handheld dominance. Key to every almost every iteration has been some form of backwards compatibility, a lower price, excellent marketing, and a larger gaming library. Until Sony can meet them on at least two of those points, they will lag far behind. In all fairness, in comparison to Nintendo, Sony is a relative noob to the handheld game.

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