With the start of the U.S. professional football season around the corner, Microsoft unveiled the new tech it's going to be providing coaches and fans this season as part of its ongoing partnership with the National Football League.
Fans get an updated NFL app for the Xbox One and Windows 10 that provides them with video content, stats, replays and fantasy football information about their favorite teams, while coaches and players will be using new Surface Pro 3 tablets that help them strategize on the sidelines.
The Xbox One app is designed to be a command center that fans can open up to get information about their favorite teams, fantasy leagues and all things NFL right from their couch. It's an update to the app Microsoft released last year that provided fans with videos from their favorite teams, information about their fantasy teams and access to live video from the NFL if they pay for the right TV channels. Starting this year, users can now pick out two favorite teams instead of one, so they can easily follow their hometown favorites along with a local franchise.
One of the centerpieces of the new app is what Microsoft and the NFL are calling Next Gen Stats. Starting this season, each NFL player will have a sensor in his equipment that tracks their position on the field. That means fans will get access to new statistics during and after games like the total distance a player ran during a given play, or the top speed during a run downfield. Microsoft is integrating that information into new replays that show a video of the play happening along with a diagram of all the players in motion along with their collected statistics.
Those stats also power a new "NGS Pick'em" game that lets Xbox owners predict the performance of football players and win prizes for guessing correctly. One overall "Pick'em" winner from the entire season will get tickets to Super Bowl 50, and other prizes will be available on a week-by-week basis.
While Microsoft has been emphasizing the Xbox One app, Windows 10 users will also have access to an app that features much of the Xbox app's functionality. Todd Stevens, an executive producer at Microsoft, said that the Windows 10 app makes PCs and tablets running the company's new operating system "the ultimate companion" for NFL fans watching games on their television.
"I can keep the game in full screen [on my television], meanwhile, as every highlight comes in, I can be watching this right on my Windows 10 device," he said.
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