Speaking with The Guardian, Microsoft's Chris Stevenson has announced that the Zune Marketplace - and everything available on it - is to be made available to Xbox 360 owners.
The move is part of a growing effort by Microsoft to bring their two "entertainment" devices closer together, and is one which will no doubt heighten speculation that the upcoming ZuneHD (due out in the US this fall), also confirmed by Stevenson, will be a serious gaming device.
Making the Zune marketplace available to Xbox Live users means that all the store's content - from music to TV shows to movies - can now be purchased by Xbox 360 users, with no need for a Zune. It's basically like opening up the Apple Store on the console, except... not quite as good.
Users will be able to stream, rent and download content from the store when it opens in "late autumn" (so late fall), with a variety of pricing and ownership options available.
The catch: the Zune marketplace on 360 won't be available globally. Only the US, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland & Spain will have access to it, so Canadians, Australians and anyone else reading this not on that list, sorry.
While the movies thing isn't that big a deal for Americans, who already have Netflix streaming, for residents of other countries on that list - whose movie marketplaces are either limited or non-existent - it's a big plus. And Microsoft will be tickled pink that the customer base for the Zune marketplace just expanded by several million Xbox 360 owners.
We'd expect the finer details of this move to be announced at E3.
Zune comes to Xbox Live in UK. Plus: ZuneHD to hit US [The Guardian]