Microsoft undecided on Netflix-style service for Europe

But UK boss denies we're being left behind.

UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson has declined to comment on when - or indeed whether - European 360 owners will ever get a Netflix-style movie download service.

"Netflix is a great deal in the US, and we're looking at what we might want to do here in the future," Thompson told Eurogamer. "But we think the content we're offering is broad-ranging and pretty deep. We have to evolve the live service in different territories at different speeds, depending on what we're able to achieve."

Thompson was speaking during a press event to promote Microsoft's new deal with Universal Pictures, which will see 30 new films added to the European movie download library. Well, 30 old films, but they're new to Xbox Live.

"We're announcing 30 movies for Universal but on the service there's over 300, so the choice is fairly broad, and we're updating it daily," said Thompson.

But 300 is not a lot compared to 10,000 (unless you're a Spartan obviously), and that's the number of films American Xbox Live users can access. It's all down to the deal with Netflix which was announced at last year's E3 and launched last "fall". More than a million US Xbox 360 owners have since taken advantage, but there's still no news of any such service launching over here. So isn't this a case of poor old Europe being left behind again?

"I think that's reasonably unfair," said Thompson. "We have a history with Xbox, certainly with Xbox 360 and its launch, where Europe has always had a similar launch for much of the technology we've delivered.

"When it comes to the Live service, yes, there is a difference with Netflix. But with much of the content and services we provide, Europe's been pretty much at the forefront of what we've been trying to do."

So, any chance we might see a Netflix-style deal in Europe by, say, the end of this year? "I don't know yet where we're going to take the services we've got," Thompson said. "We're concentrating on delivering the services we've got and bolstering the content we've got."

He added, "There will be evolutions of that service, absolutely, but I'm not going to give you any timelines or specifics." Oh well.

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Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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