Xbox app announcements "very soon"

BBC iPlayer, Skype rumoured.

Microsoft will announce the arrival of new apps for the Xbox 360 "very, very soon".

Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter and Sky are already part of the Xbox 360. YouTube with voice search through Bing is coming with the Christmas redesign of the dashboard.

More third-party applications are set to hit Xbox 360, Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live product marketing manager for EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa], told Eurogamer.

"We're working avidly to extend those entertainment partners," he said. "Nothing, unfortunately, to announce today.

"The announcement to be of more partners coming to the platform will give us that critical mass of content experiences.

"There will be announcements, so look out for those coming very, very soon indeed in terms of that space.

"The engine has been really built to cater to that additional amount of content."

One app rumoured to be coming to the Xbox 360 is Skype, which Microsoft bought for a whopping $8.5 billion in May.

Another is the BBC iPlayer, which the BBC wants on the Xbox 360, but only if it is available to all - not just Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The BBC iPlayer is currently available on the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii free of charge.

"We want to be on as many devices as possible," BBC general manager for programmes and on demand Daniel Danker said earlier this month.

"Of course we'd love to be on the Xbox because we want to get the iPlayer to as many licence payers as possible, which is pretty much everyone in the UK.

"We want to be on the cheapest level that you can have on Xbox, and not only for [Xbox Live] Gold subscribers."

In late 2009, a BBC source told The Telegraph: "Microsoft only wants to offer its users access to platforms it can charge for as this is the model it is pursuing.

"This does not fit with the BBC's model and Microsoft will not budge at the moment. It is really frustrating for those involved on the BBC side who want to make sure iPlayer is rolled out on as many popular entertainment platforms as possible."

On the issue of the BBC iPlayer coming to Xbox 360, Burrowes remained tight-lipped, but did say talks were ongoing.

"I can't talk about the specific nature of the deal," he said. "All I can say is there are a number of active discussions with a number of partners right now. We are talking to key partners at any given time in the UK.

"Our desire is to bring as many of them to the platform as we possibly can. But I can't talk about the specific nature of any deal. There are too many sensitivities in and around that. Unfortunately some of those sensitivities have spilled out in the past."

There are 35 million Xbox Live members across the world.

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