Microsoft buys R2 Studios to boost Xbox content

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Microsoft is reported to have bought home entertainment technology startup id8 Group R2 Studios, in an effort to beef up its Xbox console.

The company, founded in 2011, specializes in technology to display a wide range of digital content on televisions. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft did well to get it, with R2 having also been in talks with Apple and Google.

id8 Group R2 Studios could fit very nicely with Microsoft's stated aim of bringing TV and other non-game content to the Xbox. Microsoft's already been working hard in this area, signing deals with several content providers over the last year to offer on-demand TV programming through the console.

id8 Group R2 Studios founder Blake Krikorian and his team will move across to join Microsoft, possibly explaining why Krikorian resigned from the board of Amazon late last month.

The deal - for an undisclosed amount - includes the transfer of a number of patents, relating to the control of electronic devices and device interfaces such as AV equipment, lighting, thermostats and security systems.

id8 Group R2 Studios recently launched its first set of products, with an Android application used to control heating and lighting with a smartphone.

Krikorian's previous venture was Sling Media, whose Slingbox product allowed users to watch television on their computers. The company was sold to EchoStar Communications in 2007.