Xbox got out of the content creation business when Xbox Entertainment Studios closed with a whimper last year. But parent company Microsoft’s original programming ambitions for the gaming console showed a twitch of life this morning with the announcement that it will be mounting a six-hour live broadcast to promote the global launch of its game “Halo 5: Guardians,” streaming exclusively on YouTube on Oct. 26 beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
Dubbed “Halo 5: Live,” the live stream will feature exclusive game play reveals, celebrity appearances and live interviews with the 343 Industries development team that created the game.
As part of the launch event, Xbox will be premiering the first episode of its animated series “Halo: The Fall of Reach,” which will stream exclusively on its off-YouTube site, Halo Channel. It should not be confused with Xbox’s web mini-series “Halo: Nightfall,” executive produced by Ridley Scott, which debuted to disappointing reviews in the fall of 2014, or its planned “Halo” TV show, to be executive produced by Steve Spielberg, which was described as being in “very active development” by Showtime president David Nevins back in August.
Taking a page from the playbook for the recent “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” global toy unboxing live stream by Disney and Maker Studios, Xbox will be incorporating fans into the “Halo 5: Live” action with events in key cities around the world. A fan in Australia will play “Halo 5” from a helicopter flying over Sydney, as his game play is broadcast on a screen suspended from a second helicopter. At the Armageddon Expo in New Zealand, fans will gather for “Halo 5” multiplayer sessions and cosplay displays. In London, a “Halo 5” celebration will be held at the venerable concert venue the Roundhouse featuring a friendly tournament between four teams of YouTube creators and U.K. fans (who can enter to win a chance to participate here). There will also be events live streamed from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
“Halo 5: Live” will be streamed at all Microsoft stores, where fans can play the game before its official midnight launch.
Landing the “Halo” broadcast could be seen as a win for YouTube, which is battling it out with Twitch to be the number one live streaming platform for the gaming vertical, which has been ranked as the most popular sector in the online video space.