Every Street United is the inaugural title of Xbox Originals, the new kind of entertainment experience available only on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and other Microsoft devices. This specific show is free to watch even if you don’t have an Xbox Live Gold subscription, but is it any good?
The premise for Every Street United sees two highly talented footballers searching the globe to find eight players to compete in a 4 versus 4 match in Brazil. These are no ordinary players though and this is no ordinary match; the focus is on unconventional street (or even foot volley) competitors who if chosen will participate in a 30 minutes per half street game on a cement court with no goalkeepers and no out of bounds.
Whichever team utilises their talent and their surroundings the best to claim victory will earn a dream prize, a try-out with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders team. You can’t just have anyone assembling these teams though, after all, these guys want to be professional footballers and so coaching a team each are two football greats. The Dutch “Pitbull”, Edgar Davids alongside Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, whom combined have a winner’s medals across most of football’s top European leagues.
Each week we’ll get closer to the match itself but for now it’s the talent search and unlike most of these types of shows they don’t perform in front of the coaches, instead they’ve been scouted already. We get to watch Davids and Henry sat in a makeshift office watching a shortlist of three or four from specifically chosen countries (eight countries based on having eight different styles).
I felt the interaction between the two coaches was limited, more so when deciding on the best candidate and that made frequent office scenes rather boring. It didn’t help having really short clips of these potentials stars that were difficult to analyse in-depth, especially when the chosen ones told their own families and friends they were the one from that country, it was like watching those forced celebratory scenes for the cameras seen in other reality shows.
It’s understandable they need to introduce the players but throughout the 28 minute episode they got very limited air time and rushed through three whole country searches, then left us with the fourth decision as a cliff-hanger. We saw more about the backgrounds then the skills they actually possessed which made it more of a documentary than entertainment.
A key feature of these Xbox Originals is meant to be interactivity, letting you at home get involved in the goings on. In this show’s particular app you’ll earn no score achievements for watching and trying these features, one of which is a point and click type search for items in a one second mini clip from each episode. Other than that there’s a poll you can vote on to see if others agree, neither of which I’ll intentionally bother with again.
There is some good news though, anyone who may be a little hazy on football cultures will learn about the national styles. It does lack on the entertaining side at the moment but at least delivers as a semi-educational presentation, akin to the videos you’d watch in your school classroom days.
So far I’ve learnt a few things about foot volley, street soccer and where the most unique football style blue-prints come from. There’s one stand out character that most of the audience will be drawn to but overall more actual action is needed to be convinced that this is a good show. I’m willing to give it until after selection process before I delete the Every Street United app and I hope you do too.