Microsoft’s new gaming console XBox 360 apparently comes with an online downloads store, one part of which is the so-called XBox Live Video service that allows users to rent digital downloads of TV shows and movies.
XBox Live Video was launched just yesterday, and initially features 48 movies. Among them is Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, which is in some ways interesting considering that it is fairly different from the rest of the movies available, a full list of which you can see here.
I don’t know much about XBox or modern consoles in general, as my gaming days are more or less limited to Commodore 64. Therefore, I have no idea what the quality of these downloads is, and all I know is that the prices are between $3 and $6 per rent, depending on the age of the film and whether you are renting a high definition or regular movie.
However, considering that so far more than six million XBox 360 units have been sold according to Wikipedia, and that the XBox Live service has more than four million subscribers, Dreams now certainly has the potential of reaching a whole new generation of audiences. This is especially true considering that only so few movies are initially available.
Yet, one is of course tempted to ask whether this is going to actually create too many new Kurosawa enthusiasts. I would imagine that something like Yojimbo or Sanjuro would have made an excellent first introduction for the XBox generation, while Dreams may not really be something that the gamers are looking for. Of course, in the end the choice of Dreams is most probably based on distribution rights, and little else.
It remains to be seen whether Akira Kurosawa News and Information is shortly taken over by XBox users.
24 November 2006
I have a 360 and right now downloading is insanely slow, so I cant comment on the quality yet, I dont think this service will become very popular. The gamers are a clever bunch, understanding paying for once free TV shows doest make much since and with the ease of finding any movie and TV show on the internet for free, cant see a young kid spending their money on such items
I would of never thought a Kurosawa film would be on there, especially as one of the very first, like to know the story behind that one.
I good entry film in my opinion would be “Ran”. I would be nice to see this spawn new Kurosawa fans but those who find “Dreams”, interesting might be disappointed in any other Kurosawa films, as it resembles very little to his other longer, slower paced films. However a spark of interest is all it really takes.
I have noticed young would be future film makers, taking note of Kurosawa, understanding there is alot he can teach. I really think Kurosawa fans will continue and with the aid of Criterion releases, there should be no shortage.