At E3 2010, Microsoft just announced a brand new Xbox 360 design. The slim Xbox 360 launches today, selling for $299 (same price as the Elite) and has been not only redesigned on the outside, but the inside brings some excitement as well. First, it has a 250GB hard drive built in, and Microsoft says that it’s “whisper quiet.” It’s also got built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, which eliminates the need for that horrible $99 Wi-Fi add-on, and saves you come cash in the process. It’s got three USB ports on the rear, along with a new AUX port, and dedicated Toslink as well. As we said, these are shipping this week, and should show up on places like Amazon and Gamestop at any moment.
Microsoft just announced at their E3 2010 briefing that Kinect for Xbox 360 will launch worldwide on November 4, 2010. No price was given, but knowing the date it half the battle. That said, who’s in? What’s the maximum price you’d pay for the Kinect add-on?
Last night, Microsoft finally unveiled both the name and a bunch of launch titles coming for Project Natal. First and foremost, Natal is no more—it is now known at Kinect for Xbox 360. The controller-free gaming add-on was shown off in an over-the-top performance featuring Cirque du Soliel in a 45-minute performance that took over four months to develop. Among the titles shown were Kinect Sports, which would be the Wii Sports of Xbox Kinect, which had mii games like soccer and beach volleyball. They also showed off river rafting, and a pretty incredible looking Star Wars game, which featured a very cool light saber battle. There was also a yoga title that looked way more precise than Wii Fit could ever be, mostly because Kinect can recognize joint position of your body. The cutest title, by far, was Kinectimals. This is kind of like Nintendogs, but rather than puppies, you have a pet tiger than you can reach out and interact with.
We will know more about Kinect later this morning, after the Microsoft E3 Media Briefing, which will hopefully give us a price and launch date for Kinect.
Wondering what big announcements Microsoft has up its sleeve for E3, aside from all the Project Natal stuff? Well, it looks like Hulu is gonna be their other surprise. While everyone was looking to the iPad as the device that would kick off the subscription-based paid model for Hulu, it instead looks like the Xbox 360 is going to get that honor. We’ve heard from a very reliable source (who has never been wrong before) that Microsoft is set to unveil Hulu as an Xbox Live service at E3 2010. Similar to how Netflix is integreated into the Xbox 360 dashboard, Hulu would be there as well, and would require a subscription fee. We have no idea how Microsoft will charge for it, but our assumption is that you’ll pay for a block of access time (a month? a quarter?) by using Microsoft Points—but again, that part is just a guess. We also have no idea as to whether you will get the entire Hulu catalog that’s available on the web, or if it will be pared down for TV consumption, despite paying the premium.
E3 kicks off in two weeks, and we should know everything when Microsoft’s Media Briefing kicks off on June 14th at 10:00 AM PT.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, Apple, Inc. surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization, making Apple the most valuable tech company in the US, and the second-largest in the country, behind Exxon Mobil. We’ve gotta say, we’re surprised and very interested in how all this went down. I mean, Microsoft just makes so many more products than Apple does, so much more software, and even has the wildly popular Xbox gaming division to boot, and all the software income that comes along with that platform. Yet, here we are. The company with the wildly popular iPhone and iPad devices and simple product line has bested the juggernaut. One point of interest in the graph above—notice the trend Microsoft had when Bill Gates was at the helm, followed by what happened when Steve Ballmer took over. Scary.
Read More | NY Times
It looks like Project Natal is set to launch just five months from today, if a trusted Edge Online source is to be believed. That would put Natal launching on October 26th, and they’ve even got it priced at $149. Even more interesting, although not surprising, is that the motion sensing Natal camera will also be sold in a bundle with the Xbox 360 Arcade console for $299. Obviously, Microsoft is looking to reach a new market with Natal, so bundling it with the entry-level Xbox 360 console will only make sense as they aim to intrigue casual users and families. Now the launch date could change, and we won’t get it confirmed until E3. That said, one other sure-thing is that Project Natal will be officially named at E3 as well—seriously, you didn’t think they’d ship with a name like that, did you?
Read More | Edge Online
In the grand scheme of things, this is just a minor Project Natal detail, but it is still worth noting that it appears that the final look of the Natal camera motion sensor accessory will be white. In all the teasers for the product, it’s been black, and in live demos, Microsoft has always gone out of their way to cover up the camera so that no one would get a peek at what it looked like until they were ready. That said, German site RTL did a video feature on Project Natal, and in that video you are able to get a look at the camera.
Read More | Gamertag Radio
Okay, so it’s not like the whole Project Natal launch window has been kept that silent. At CES, Microsoft let us know that it would launch this holiday season. A while later, UK television personality Jonathan Ross tweeted that Natal would be launching in October. Well, we can add more fuel to that October launch rumor, as Microsoft Saudi Marketing Manager Syed Milal Tariq said yesterday in an interview that Natal will launch globally “somewhere in October.” He went on to say that the day would be firmed up in time for E3 in June, but that we will definitely see it in October 2010.
Now, that isn’t official (read: PR) or anything, but at this point, we believe that you’ll be flailing wildly across your living room before Halloween.
Read More | Gamertag Radio
“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.”
- Stephen King
And so begins the story of Alan Wake. When you begin the game, that line is spoken by the main character, writer and horror novelist Alan Wake, and it sets the tone perfectly for the adventure that you are about to embark upon. Alan Wake is a game where you’ll spend time searching for answers, questioning what is real, and answering questions that the main character never wanted to have asked. The beauty of the title is that the premise is simple and enthralling all at once—a horror novelist’s story has come to life, and he is in the middle of it. Even stranger, he doesn’t recall writing it.
We must say, we’ve been excited about Alan Wake since we first heard about it some five years ago. The narrated gameplay makes it feel like you are playing through a novel, or maybe more closely, a series of Twilight Zone episodes. This is a welcome difference from the all-to-common feeling that developers often try to make it feel like you are “playing” a movie. The game has been in development forever, and saw a couple of delays, which normally signals trouble (just look at Too Human.) However, we are here to tell you that Alan Wake didn’t suffer for it. This is one book that you won’t want to put down until the very last word.
Gallery: Alan Wake review
This week, Intel announced the availability of technology made especially for digital signage. The new platform, based on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and running on Intel Core i5/i7 processors, along with technology such as touch screens to allow interactivity from a passerby.
The “Intelligent Digital Sign” also could use a camera to use what they call “anonymous video analytics” to show items of interest to the user at an appropriate height for the user, along with gender recognition software. The sign is large enough that if another person comes up to the ad and interacts, they would be presented with their own advertisement while the first person continued their own experience.
I’m a bit wary of anything using a camera or having access to my cellular phone, but take a look at the release and decide for yourself. The release also has a video from back in January when they demonstrated the system.
Read More | Microsoft: Next Generation of Digital Signage Applications Is Possible Today
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