If you're an Amazon Prime member who also owns an Xbox 360, listen up! Amazon has just announced the launch of its Instant Video platform for the Xbox 360 for those who are both Xbox Live Gold members and also belong to Amazon Prime. The Amazon Xbox 360 app gives users access to the 17,000 movies and television episodes available on the service, and even those who aren't Prime members can still access the video-on-demand purchase and rental service. The Amazon app also includes support for Kinect. If you're in the US, you can download it now. Check out a video of how it all works after the break.
Once again, Microsoft is going to be offering a free Xbox 360 for students who buy a qualifying PC. The computers start at $699, and when purchased at certain retailers, a 4 GB Xbox 360 will be thrown in gratis beginning on May 18. Up in Canada, students are welcome to the same deal, and the PCs start at $599. Participating retailers include Dell, Best Buy, Newegg (see our Newegg promo code thread,) Fry's Electronics, Staples, Future Shop, the Microsoft Store, and more.
Wanna save even more cash? Wait to make the purchase until June 2, when the Windows 8 upgrade program is set to launch, allowing PC buyers to upgrade to Windows 8 for just $15.
Read More | Windows Team Blog
Looks like Microsoft is finally ready to bring Internet Explorer to the Xbox 360 after many years on the market. It turns out that the company has been testing an Xbox-optimized version of Internet Explorer 9 that supports the Bing voice search feature that's currently available on the platform. As with most things that Microsoft builds for the Xbox 360 these days, IE will have deeply-integrated Kinect integration, allowing users to speak web pages into existence, and wave to navigate. No word yet on availability, but E3 is just a few weeks away, and we'd bet that we'll see it in all its glory there.
Read More | The Verge
Remember that $99 Xbox 360 Kinect bundle we mentioned last week? Well, Microsoft has just launched it. You can now buy a 4 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect sensor for $99 with two-year Xbox Live Gold contract, paying $14.99 per month for the course of the agreement. If you cancel early, you'll pay an early termination fee, which starts at $250 and decreases each month after the third month. Just head on over to your local Microsoft Store to make it happen.
Read More | $99 Xbox Offer
In its neverending quest to get the Xbox 360 to be the entertainment hub of as many living rooms as possible, it appears that Microsoft has come up with a new tactic to move units. The Verge is reporting that the company is set to launch a new 4 GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle that'll cost just $99. The catch? You'll have to agree to a two-year contract at $15 per month, giving you access to Xbox Live Gold service, and possibly other streaming features (maybe the rumored music service set to launch at E3?) It's certainly an interesting move that hasn't been tested before, which could be why the report claims that the specially-priced bundle will only be available in US Microsoft Stores.
Read More | The Verge
Halo 4 is going to be one of the biggest video game releases this year, and gamers across the world have been waiting for confirmation of the release date. We can now tell you that Halo 4 will hit stores on November 6, according to Microsoft.
"We are beginning a new saga with Halo 4 and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of Halo games and experiences," said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. "Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with Halo 4 leading the charge, we're confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history."
Halo 4 is the first in the series to not be made by Bungie. Instead, the game is being developed by 343 Industries, a Microsoft studio that actually works out of the old Bungie Studios building in Kirkland, Washington. Halo 4 takes place four years after the conclusion of Halo 3.
E3, the huge video game trade show, is almost upon us, and companies are starting to send out invites for the media briefings that'll feature all the huge announcements that set up the rest of the year. The biggest briefings, of course, are those held by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, and today we received our invite for the Xbox Media Briefing. Turns out it'll take place on June 4, 2012 at 9:00 am PDT, and we'll make sure to have all the news for you right here as it happens.
You're now able to skip forward and backwards during play, allowing users to quickly change between movies and TV episodes. Users now will be able to zoom during play, turning letterboxed displays into full screen, and there are now contrast settings that allow you to tweak things to make colors more vivid, and blacks purer. For users outside the States, you’ll now have expanded and improved Facebook functionality connected via Facebook. The social functionality allows others to see what you watched and how you rated the shows.
If you’re wondering how to get the update, signing into your Xbox Live account and fire up your current Netflix app. You should get a notification that an update is available right away. If you’re not a Netflix user, when you decide the time is right to try Netflix, the most up-to-date software will be downloaded when you sign-up. Keep in mind in order to access Netflix through the Xbox 360, you need an Xbox Live Gold Account, broadband Internet, and an active Netflix membership.
Read More | Netflix
It looks like two Microsoft products are about to get killed off (or really, renamed) with the release of Windows 8. When the next major Windows OS launches, that'll be the end of the Zune and Windows Live brands. Yep, Microsoft is finally getting rid of the brand that was supposed to rival the Apple's iPod/iTunes ecosystem, but failed miserably. It’s not just the physical player they’re killing off - they did that last year while holding onto Zune as the name of the desktop software and music service. Now, Zune will be no more.
In addition, in an effort to further simplify things, the Windows Live brand is also going away. Here's a look at what to expect, and what will replace the two brands:
- Microsoft Account (Windows Live ID)
- Mail (Windows Live Mail)
- Calendar (Windows Live Calendar)
- People (Windows Live Contacts)
- Photos (Windows Live Photo Gallery)
- Music (Zune Music Player)
- Video (Zune Video Player)
We also wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft replaced Zune with a streaming music service similar to Spotify. The sad part is that Zune could have been what Spotify Premium currently offers had Microsoft been more forward thinking with the concept. We've actually said many times in the past that the Zune Pass was the best deal in music. Currently there are other well-established music services with dedicated users like Spotify, Rdio, MOG, and Rhapsody. If this is Microsoft’s attempt to dominate a new market, we sure hope they've got a better plan than they did with the original Zune launch.
Read More | The Verge
Kinect and Star Wars, a perfect match some might say. George Lucas has teamed up with Microsoft to bring us the wonderful and whimsical Star Wars Xbox 360 Kinect bundle. The bundle includes a custom painted R2D2 themed Xbox 360 with matching Kinect sensor. The Xbox itself also has custom R2D2 sound effects when turning the console on or off or, as well as when ejecting a disc.
That’s not all; the bundle also includes a copy of the game Kinect Star Wars and a C3PO-themed controller. On the front of the console it can also be noticed that the standard green LED lights that make up the iconic XBOX 360 face have been replaced with blue LEDs to match the whole R2D2 thing. Finally, the Xbox 360 comes equipped with a massive 360 GB hard drive, the newest and largest drive to date available for the console. All of these wonderful treasures are available for pre-order now, and will be available for purchase on June 1 of this year for $449.00.
© Gear Live Inc. – User-posted content, unless source is quoted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. Gear Live graphics, logos, designs, page headers, button icons, videos, articles, blogs, forums, scripts and other service names are the trademarks of Gear Live Inc.