HBO and Microsoft have teamed up to offer Xbox owners the opportunity to watch the hit series Game of Thrones for free. The HBO Now app will be available to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners with the availability of a free episode of Game of Thrones between April 25 and April 28.
According to the press release the HBO Now streaming service will be available for $14.99 a month with an entire month of free access as a trial offer for those not subscribed to the service. To help sweeten the deal they're also offering a free episode from season six of the Game of Thrones to Xbox owners whether they're subscribed to HBO or not. But as mentioned in the opening paragraph, you'll only be able to access the free episode between April 25 and April 28. The availability of the free episode will arrive just a day after the premiere season six for the Game of Thrones, which takes place on April 24th, this Sunday.
According to the senior VP of worldwide digital distribution and business development at HBO, Jeff Dallesandro, the Xbox brand has been a go-to device for streaming HBO, mentioning in the press release...
Xbox has proven to be a favorite platform for HBO audiences to stream their beloved HBO shows and movies and we are excited about this next big step in our partnership.
It's interesting that it's mentioned that the Xbox has been a “favorite platform” but no where in the press release do the mention the subscription numbers from Xbox users, nor do they mention the platform adoption rate, nor do they mention the daily, weekly or even monthly active users making use of the current HBO services available on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. It makes you wonder what context “favorite platform” is being used in?
Supposedly the HBO Now service will work like the WWE Network, where you can pick and choose to watch whatever you want from the HBO catalog, including their new shows and many of their classics like The Sopranos, Sexy and the City and True Blood.
I honestly don't know exactly what the benefit of HBO Now would be over the standard HBO Go service other than the access to the back catalog of shows, but for $14.99 a month on top of things like Xbox Live Gold, that's about $20 a month just for those two services alone.
This television initiative has been a rather popular avenue for home console manufacturers as of late. Microsoft originally focused on the whole TV thing with the announcement of the Xbox One back in 2013 much to the chagrin of hardcore gamers who wanted a really good game console and not a television media station. The decision to focus on television over gaming cost Microsoft dearly, as they lost lots of mind share and market share to Sony and the PlayStation 4.
It appears as if the whole television avenue is still in the play cards for Microsoft as they focus on these extended services through the Xbox home consoles with apps like HBO Now. You can learn more about the streaming service by paying a visit to the official HBO Now website.