Microsoft UK has confirmed that the European Xbox 360 Video Store is to be expanded, but stopped short of promising a major content boost to bring it into line with the US service

Presently, European Xbox 360 users have access to about 40 films, whereas their US-based counterparts can choose from around 400 titles. In a recent interview with Silicon Republic, Microsoft Ireland Entertainment and Devices Division manager Orla Sheridan suggested that Microsoft had "imminent" plans to bring the two services into line.

Too quick off the mark?

Microsoft now appears keen to distance itself from that position. In an email to Next-Gen.biz the corporation said that although talk of a major increase in content was "premature", there are plans to bring some new content to the service.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 Video Marketplace launched in Europe in mid December. Users can choose to watch a range of high-definition films for around £3.20 per movie or standard-definition films for £2 per movie. However, the service was made available to US owners in 2006 and they presently enjoy a much wider range of content, including popular TV shows.

Second-class Europe

European Xbox 360 owners will no doubt be delighted to see a wider range of choice made available. However, given widespread ignorance of the finer details of worldwide rights management and licensing law, many others might also feel tempted to question why Europe always seems to get a bum deal compared to the US.

And of course it's a question that extends beyond the boundaries of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and into the realm of other content-on-demand providers such as Apple's iTunes.