At a Variety event this week, Nancy Tellem — a TV industry veteran who now leads Microsoft's digital media business — noted that the company hoped to have original programming ready for Xbox Live "in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter" of next year. The company's ambitions to expand Xbox Live into a broader entertainment platform aren't new: it announced a live-action Halo series produced by Steven Spielberg in May, and more recently added a reality show about soccer and a Rob Dyrdek-linked comedy to the docket. Thus far, though, nothing has launched, and Tellem said that production of the Halo series in particular has been "slower."

The number of tech firms getting into the entertainment business seems to grow by the day, and it's easy to draw parallels between Tellem's efforts and the arms race currently underway between Netflix and Amazon. Tellem, though, insists that Microsoft's trying to do something different: "We're neither [Amazon nor Netflix] or we're a little like them. It all depends." Ultimately, it may just come down to demographics — Xbox Live's audience is likely more focused than something like Netflix, which is available on virtually every device with a screen and an internet connection.