There are 20 days to go before Netflix launches in officially in Australia at last, and the final pieces of the pre-launch puzzle are falling into place.
Microsoft has announced that the Netflix app is ready for Australian Xbox owners to download, and once the launch date arrives and you pay for a subscription (or presumably sign up for a month’s free trial as is the case in the US), you’ll be able to start watching content right way.
It’s something Netflix users in the US have been able to enjoy for some time, so it’s no surprise it is finally available here, too.
Microsoft will also give away an exclusive free three months prepaid subscription to the Netflix service with purchases of a new Xbox One console (for a limited time from selected retailers).
Xbox One owners will also be able to use ‘achievements’ with Netflix, as with games, but with Netflix it will be called ‘Media Achievements’. The company says ‘you can earn bragging rights for what you do while you watch Netflix by rating titles, bingeing on a series or watching frequently.’
I wonder if that particular achievement is called ‘couch potato’. :-)
The Netflix app also supports the Xbox One’s ‘Snap’ feature, which lets you ‘watch movies and TV shows while simultaneously doing another activity’, so you can watch the political treachery in the popular Netflix production House of Cards 'while putting the pedal to the metal in a bright yellow Ferrari F12 Berlinetta in Forza Horizon 2.’
Trying to focus on accurate driving while paying proper attention to the machinations of US politics probably isn’t the best way to have either experience in full, but hey, you can do it - and there will certainly be other games and TV shows or movies where this be a much more natural thing to do - perhaps watching a ’Fast and Furious’ movie while Forza-ing around the track is one example.
Microsoft Australia’s Interactive Entertainment man, Jeremy Hinton said: “Netflix is one of the world’s premiere entertainment services which we have had a long association with around the world, so we’re thrilled to announce this partnership on Xbox in Australia.
“The introduction of Netflix will further cement our dedication to being the number one entertainment platform in Australian living rooms. In addition, the Netflix app is a perfect fit for Xbox One, allowing users to make the most of the console’s features and benefits, such as Snap, while they watch and play what they want, when they want.”
Paul Perryman, Netflix Director of Business Development said: "We're happy to extend our long history of partnership with one of the world's leading gaming and entertainment platforms, giving Xbox owners in Australia and New Zealand fast and easy access to Netflix on cutting-edge technology.”
Apparently there will be ‘more details over the coming month’, so it would seem that if you thought a Netflix app on Xbox was it, it appears you can give that notion a flick.
It also makes me wonder other fruits will emerge from the Microsoft and Netflix collaboration - perhaps some alternative to Twitch.TV?
Some kind of competition to find Australia’s best Xbox gamers to feature in some kind of future Netflix gaming show?
An opportunity to be an extra in House of Cards taking on Kevin Spacey in a game of Political Mortal Kombat?
The lucky person who gets to sneak in a cleverly hidden reference to Xbox in Netflix’s Marco Polo show, which is set centuries before electricity was discovered, let alone the concept of a ‘games console’?
A trip to visit Bill Gates and watch some Netflix with him on an Xbox One?
Participation in some Microsoft documentary to be shown on Netflix on the secret development of the Holographic Xbox Two?
It could be anything, but probably none of the things my overly active imagination has flicked up.
All of that said, Microsoft is promising more, so when we know what it is, we will let you know!