Microsoft launching original Xbox shows (including the 'Halo' series?) early next year

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The Xbox One hit stores almost a month ago. Launch titles like Ryse and Dead Rising 3 didn’t inspire much confidence, but Microsoft always positioned the Xbox One as a new kind of device: An entertainment console that would unite the disparate media machines in your living room into one glorious voice-operated mega-machine. (It’s the Megazord, basically.) To that end, Microsoft already announced plans to populate Xbox Live with original TV series, including a Halo series executive produced by Steven Spielberg, director of Always and also several other films you may have heard of.

Since Microsoft made that plan, streaming TV has become a bit of a thing. (See: Netflix.) There’s no official word on how Microsoft will roll out their original Xbox programming. But Nancy Tellem, the company’s president of entertainment and digital, tells Variety that they’re hoping to launch in early 2014. “We’re hoping we will be able to put something up in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter,” she says, while admitting that developing the initial round of programming has been a “slower” process than was initially expected.

Tellem is mum on any specifics, although she does explain: “We aren’t Netflix, we aren’t Amazon, we’re a different animal.” Nothing specific has been announced about the Halo series, and given the probably significant digital effects involved in the spacefaring production, it seems unlikely that the show will hit in the first wave of programming. But you never know. Maybe they’re pulling a Beyoncé, and Halo will just quietly appear one day on Xbox Live, with a pilot directed by let’s-say Joe Cornish.

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