Xbox Live takes on Netflix with first exclusive film release

Pulp Screen
Is this the future of movie viewing as we know it?

Throwing prehistoric concepts of cinemas and DVDs by the wayside, Microsoft has announced the first ever movie to debut on a games console.

Pulp, an indie comedy by co-directors Adam Handy and Shaun Magher, follows a group of comic book geeks who get pulled into the criminal underworld - perfectly pitched for an audience of gaming enthusiasts.

It's also a step in the right direction for Microsoft, which is expanding the reach of its Xbox 360 as an all-round entertainment unit.

Pulp fiction

A Microsoft spokesperson told TechRadar: "Hosting a world premiere over Xbox Live is a world first, and is another example of how Xbox is bringing a wide variety of entertainment content to our services."

The company is looking at similar opportunities in the future, but added that nothing firm is in the pipeline yet.

It's a nice move that could help indie filmmakers to get their work distributed where mainstream methods fail.

In an interview with the BBC, co-director Adam Hamdy said: "For a film like Pulp that doesn't have bankable stars with a track record, it's a challenge for any distributor to take that gamble."

The times they are a-changin'

The move is another surprise shake-up for traditional media distribution. Last month, Netflix released all 13 episodes of its first ever original series House of Cards, which were made available for instant streaming overnight.

Cutting down on the time delay between filming and release is an appealing way to give media junkies an instant hit of TV or film - something Microsoft clearly wants in on.

"We've been in the entertainment space for several years with the Xbox Video service, plus partners such as Netflix, Lovefilm and NowTV, we are continuing to grow," Microsoft said.

Rental prices for Pulp start at £3.49 (about US$5, AU$5), while users can pay to download the movie for keeps from £9.99 (US$18.99, approximately AU$15).

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.