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Xbox 360 Controller

Microsoft’s Xbox unit is getting an intriguing home-automation boost. The company has reportedly acquired id8 Group R2 Studios, a small home automation startup from the founder of Slingbox, reports The Wall Street Journal.

You’ve likely never heard of R2 Studios, but last month there were several reports that Apple, Google, and Microsoft were all interested in snapping it up. Founder Blake Krikorian left Amazon’s board on Monday because of the acquisition though at the time he didn’t reveal who bought R2 studios.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Microsoft also reportedly received some patents centering on electronic device controls as part of the acquisition.

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Last year, the startup released an Android app for controlling devices connected to Crestron controllers, including heating, lighting, and audio/video equipment. As the WSJ tells it, Microsoft is particularly interested in the entertainment side of the company’s work. It could conceivably fit in well in Microsoft’s Xbox Smartglass apps, which offer second-screen functionality for Xbox users.

The acquisition is yet another sign that Microsoft is evolving the Xbox beyond a mere gaming console. Eventually, the system could go from being the center of your living room to powering your entire living room.

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