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VellVett performing at the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash

What you see here is an R2-D2 inspired Xbox 360, along with a C-3PO Xbox 360 controller, and you'll find these as part of the Star Wars Kinect bundle that was revealed by Microsoft at Comic-Con. Also included in the bundle is a white Kinect sensor, Star Wars Kinect, and Kinect Adventures. The console also includes a 320 GB hard drive, which is a first for the Xbox 360 line. The console itself has custom R2-D2 sounds rather than the standard Xbox 360 chimes. You can pre-order these now, and they'll be shipping in the fall for $449.

Read More | Star Wars Kinect Bundle

Gallery: Star Wars Kinect bundle features R2-D2 Xbox 360, C-3PO controller, 320 GB hard drive


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Nyko Zoom

One of the biggest complaints with the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 is its space requirement. For the depth-sensing cameras to function properly, Microsoft recommends a good eight feet between the Kinect sensor and your body. That's a lot of space, especially for all the apartment and dorm room dwellers out there.

Nyko might have fixed that problem with the Zoom, a surprisingly simple and affordable Kinect attachment that seriously cuts down on its need for room.

The Zoom is a wide-angle lens attachment that fits over the Kinect, changing how it sees the room. With a wider angle, it can see more laterally, but doesn't have as much depth. According to Nyko, this means the Kinect needs up to 40 percent less space than without the Zoom. Because it's just a set of lenses that fit over those on the Kinect, it doesn't need any power or complex installation; it just slides on.

The Nyko Zoom will retail for $29.99 when it ships later this year.

Click to continue reading Nyko Zoom lets you stand closer to Kinect

Gallery: Nyko Zoom lets you stand closer to Kinect


Xbox Live cloud syncing

Microsoft didn't have enough time to cover everything that's coming down the pike for Xbox Live with the fall dashboard update, but they sent us an email detailing some of the new hotness that they didn't talk about on stage, and we're super excited to hear that profiles will be able to be saved to the cloud. What does that mean for the average Joe? Well, this means that instead of saving your games to your hard drive or USB stick, you can instead save them to the web. Same goes for your Xbox Live profile, along with achievements, friend list, etc. One thing I've always hated about having two Xbox 360 units in the home is that I need to remember to grab my USB stick and bring it upstairs and down if I want to log into Live. Now, I just enter a username and password on any Xbox 360, from any location, and I am logged in. The days of recovering a Gamertag will be history come this fall!

Gallery: Xbox Live will store your profile and game saves to the cloud this fall


YouTube on Xbox 360

This morning at its E3 2011 Xbox Media Briefing, Microsoft announced that YouTube will be coming to Xbox Live this fall. They didn't go into too much detail about it, but you'll obviously be able to search and view videos from the YouTube service, and we're gonna go out on a limb and guess that you'll also be able to upload gameplay videos taken with Kinect directly to the service as well. Even without that last part though, adding YouTube is just another step Microsoft is taking in their hopes of making the Xbox 360 the ultimate living room hub.

Gallery: YouTube coming to Xbox Live


Modern Warfare 3, the next video game in the enormously popular Call of Duty franchise, is set for a Nov. 8, 2011 release and Activision on Tuesday teased the eagerly awaited title with an action-packed trailer (video below).

Earlier this month, gaming site Kotaku claimed that a leaked audio clip from Modern Warfare 3 contained a reference to SEAL Team Six, the Navy commandoes who took out Osama bin Laden on May 2.

If that reference exists, it wasn't contained in the official trailer, which managed to whet Call of Duty fans' appetites for what looks to be a blockbuster first-person shooter jam-packed with high-stakes action in "the next global conflict."

"It doesn't take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict, just the will of a single man," intones a brief spot of narration in the trailer. That conflagration kicks in the streets of New York, presumably following through on a Russian invasion that was imminent at the end of Modern Warfare 2.

The action then moves to England, France, and Germany. Clips of crashing trains, tank battles, tumbling buildings, air strikes, amphibious assaults, and lots and lots of street fighting are interspersed throughout.

Click to continue reading Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 drops November 8

Gallery: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 drops November 8


Xbox 360 replacement

Microsoft is offering a small number of Xbox 360 owners replacement consoles and a free year of Xbox Live as compensation for a firmware glitch, according to a report.

According to Kotaku, some customers have received emails stating that consumers can trade in their defective consoles in return for an upgrade.

Microsoft also confirmed the report via Twitter, in response to the posting of a screenshot of the letter by user Avery Penn.

However, the email from Microsoft appears to anticipate problems with the console, as Penn told Kotaku that his console is still able to read the discs. "The email was most likely referring to the Xbox LIVE update which is being phased in between May 19 and May 30 – an update which reflashes the DVD drives to a new stock firmware, and adds support for new XGD3 disk format," Kotaku added. "It's this update that allows an extra GB of usable storage on game discs."

Click to continue reading Microsoft sending upgraded Xbox 360 consoles to users with disc issues

Gallery: Microsoft sending upgraded Xbox 360 consoles to users with disc issues


mass effect 3 delay

Gamers hoping to find Mass Effect 3 under the Christmas tree this year are out of luck. The latest installment of BioWare's popular mature-themed sci-fi franchise has been delayed until the first quarter of 2012, the company said Wednesday.

"Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser-focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone's expectations," BioWare executive producer Casey Hudson posted on Facebook.

The follow-up to Mass Effect 2 was originally slated for release in time for the 2011 holiday season, according to various gaming websites, though some have already updated that information to reflect the delayed release of the RPG third-person shooter.

Click to continue reading Mass Effect 3 delayed until 2012

Gallery: Mass Effect 3 delayed until 2012


gears of war 3 beta

"Gears of War 3," the final installment in the Gears of War trilogy, is slated to hit store shelves on September 20, bringing the war between The Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) and the Locust Hoard to its conclusion. However, you don't have to wait until the fall to play the game; developer Epic Games has given those who purchased "Bulletstorm: Epic Edition" or pre-ordered "Gears of War 3" a chance to take the online multiplayer for a spin. New and returning gamers will appreciate all the new weapons, characters, and the smooth online experience.

The "Gears of War" beta comes with a purpose. Besides letting gamers preview the title before its release, Epic Games is using it to test its new dedicated online servers. The studio is also looking to iron out any bugs, glitches, and exploits that plagued the previous series entries.

The gameplay of "Gears of War 3" multiplayer remains mostly the same, but it incorporates new weapons, maps, game modes, and game play mechanics. Gamers will continue to strategically go in and out of cover to get a better position for the kill.

Click to continue reading Gears of War 3 beta review

Gallery: Gears of War 3 beta review


Portal 2 review

Innovation in video games is terrific—sometimes. But with certain ideas and series, particularly the simplest ones, the smartest thing to do can be to just expand and build on the concept but not change it very much. That's the choice Valve Software has made with Portal 2, the ravenously awaited sequel to the addictive and brain-twisting 2007 first-person puzzler. Judging from our initial half-day with the game, Valve has chosen wisely.

The original Portal, first released as part of the Orange Box collection, was maddening because it was so straightforward, and delightful because of its rampant dementedness. As a test subject trapped in the Aperture Science building, you were armed only with a gun that could create up two dimensional portals: shoot a blue one, shoot an orange one, then run through one to emerge from the other. Strategy and physics played key roles as you struggled to discover what happened to the all the office workers, evade turret fire and pits of foul-looking liquid, and determine what the nature was of the teasing and tormenting computer (the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, or GLaDOS) that made jokes at your expense every 30 seconds.

 

Portal succeeded because its formula was both hard to screw up but easy to love. It was both rigorously adult (some of the levels were hard, and many of the bonus boards all but impossible), and yet faultlessly cute (who can forget the baby-voiced android weapons, or the Weighted Companion Cube emblazoned on all six sides with hearts). This meant that anyone of any age could play it, and because it required just a handful of keys or buttons (far fewer than the average shooter), you didn't even need to be an experienced gamer. As if realizing this, Valve even structured the game to provide to provide its own fully integrated tutorial so you could master tricky concepts without being aware you were learning everything.

In fact, the most commonly cited problem with the game was that it was too short: Nineteen levels and it was done. For years, people have been crying out for more levels and more snappy wit—and with Portal 2, that is what Valve has almost exclusively provided.

Click to continue reading Portal 2 review

Gallery: Portal 2 review


Were only all console games so generous as to award a player $1 million for accomplishing a difficult feat of gaming.

Two entrants have surfaced on YouTube for Take-Two Interactive's million-dollar contest, a challenge that tasks players with throwing a perfect game in the recently released Major League Baseball 2K11 title for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3—the only two consoles allowed to participate in the challenge, we should note.

So what does it take to win a million bucks? In last year's similarly themed contest, 24-year-old Wade McGilberry was able to take home the prize on his sixth attempt—the same day the game was released, mind you. It's taken a little while longer for gamers to accomplish the same feat in MLB 2K11: The game was released on March 8 of this year, but the contest itself didn't start until April 1, and the two YouTube videos in question were posted on April 7 and 8.

The timing is an important distinction, as Michael Manna—otherwise known as professional wrestler Stevie Richards—already uploaded a video to YouTube of the perfect game he threw on the game's release day. But don't assume that throwing a perfect game is just that easy. Not only did he not fall within the correct timeframe to win the prize, but he also allegedly didn't have the game on the correct settings (like All-Star difficulty) to even qualify for the million-dollar award.

Click to continue reading Two entries appear for MLB 2K11’s million-dollar “Perfect Game” challenge

Gallery: Two entries appear for MLB 2K11’s million-dollar “Perfect Game” challenge


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