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Microsoft going long with NFL, ESPN integration on Xbox One

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(Credit: Microsoft)

Are you ready for some Xbox?

Microsoft has announced a new partnership with the NFL, as well as an expanded one with current partner ESPN, that it hopes will turn the upcoming Xbox One console into a one stop shop for football fans.

The Xbox One will launch with a pair of apps catering to sports fans -- one NFL-specific, and one an upgraded version of what ESPN currently offers -- incorporating social media, cloud-based processing, and fantasy teams.

NFL fans will receive a live feed of the NFL Network in the app, including NFL RedZone, which hops between teams when they’re inside the 20-yard line. It will also include data from the league's website, like live scores and highlights, as well as Twitter feeds tied to game highlights.

For example, let's say Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson bolts down the field, dodging defenders and lighting up the social media world. As you see those Tweets appear in the stream, you can push a button to see exactly what they're talking about and join the conversation yourself.

The app will also let fantasy football players track their teams and leagues in real time.

"We've seen this over the last two or three years with ESPN on Xbox: People love short-form, personalized HD highlights on a TV screen," David Jurenka, director of sports at Xbox Entertainment Studios, told Polygon. "Those [videos] aren't easy to come by today. They're very easy on a tablet or a laptop or phone, but when we bring this here, we [...] allow people to have any of these experiences while they're watching on an Xbox One."

ESPN's app will add a multiple feed view, letting you watch up to 20 different games at once, which should appeal to college fans in particular. Viewers will also have access to a feature called Scorecenter that lets fans check up on stats, though if you really want to dive down, you'll have to use a second screen to do so. The app will also tie in with your ESPN.com account to display content that's most of interest to you.

The expanded sports coverage is just one of the ways Microsoft is hoping to make the Xbox One stand out from the PS4 this holiday season. The company's also planning original entertainment content, including a Steven Spielberg-produced Halo series. There have also been whispers the company is considering a remake of the BBC sci-fi show "Blake's 7."

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