Millions of HBO subscribers use the HBO Go app and live streaming service to catch-up on old movies, TV series (like Game of Thrones) and other HBO programs ranging from live boxing to the Real Sex series. Unless they own an Xbox One, that is. HBO Go on Xbox One hasn’t yet released.
It appears that may soon be changing. Microsoft announced this summer that 45 new Xbox one entertainment apps would release before the end of 2014, but some of the largest haven’t yet seen the light of day. One of those is HBO Go on Xbox One, which hasn’t even been discussed since that summertime news release.
A report this weekend implies that Microsoft’s silence isn’t due to lack of action. In fact, it may be completely tied to strategic content plans, and not necessarily on Microsoft’s part.
A Reddit user this weekend posted images from a OneDrive account showing HBO Go on Xbox One app that seemed to be fully functional. The images didn’t indicated whether the test was part of an official HBO Go beta for Xbox One, or whether it was just some internal testing at Microsoft HQ.
Before you get all excited about using HBO Go to watch Game of Thrones on Xbox One for free, you should note that HBO Go on Xbox One will require more than just Xbox Live Gold. As with the app on Xbox 360 and PS3, and as is the case with the live-streaming online version of HBO Go, you’ll still need a full-fledged subscription to HBO as part of your cable or satellite package.
It’s a complete hassle to have to turn on the Xbox 360 explicitly to watch HBO Go on an HDTV, yet use the Xbox One for everything else. It’s encouraging to see Microsoft and HBO moving forward with the HBO Go on Xbox One app, though the product does seem unnecessarily and exorbitantly delayed.
That delay may not actually be on Microsoft’s end. HBO and CBS have both announced plans to offer live streaming online subscriptions to their respective content, independent of any services that already exist. Like, yes, HBO Go. Perhaps the forthcoming Xbox One app has been delayed not for technical reasons, but as a way to provide HBO more time to develop its overall digital content distribution strategy.
Here’s hoping the now-announced live streaming package won’t take the place of the official HBO Go on Xbox One app.