Monday, June 14, 2010

New Xbox 360 and Kinect

Today, Microsoft unveiled some amazing news in their keynote speech at E3. As would fit the norm of E3 the discussion was based on multimedia and not business (that was last week, at TechEd). Two new major products were announced, the new Xbox 360 and Kinect.


Aside from unveiling the new 360 and Microsoft Kinect, other features were promoted as well. For example, Xbox Live is the biggest gaming community in the world with, get this, over 25 million users worldwide; how cool is that? But that’s not all. The Xbox 360 is no longer just a gaming platform. Although in its early days the Xbox 360 was predominantly a gaming platform, it did offer excellent media capabilities, such as it being able to serve as a Media Extender. However, over time a lot has changed. With an Xbox 360 and an Xbox Live account, users are able to access their Netflix account, Zune,, and Facebook. Once again, the Xbox is bringing multimedia together in one device.

The New Slim Xbox 360

Of course, the Xbox has evolved over time since its beginning (what with the inclusion of Netflix,, and Facebook, among other hardware changes as well). However, with all the evolution combined, it seems like the new Xbox 360 will offer an immense array of features that no other console has yet to offer. According to a Microsoft_Xbox tweet today, the new Xbox 360 will offer a 250GB Hard Drive, built-in Wi-Fi and a supposed whisper quiet fan. Only actual use will tell if the latter of these three features will be true. The best part is the price. At $299, the new 360 seems almost like a bargain.


The new Xbox 360, deemed the Slim Xbox 360, will be available this week in North America and Europe. I would love to pick one of these devices up, but I think I’ll wait a while before I do anything so rash. However, if you’re a serious gamer, or want a great media device and don’t already have a 360, then this is the device for you.

Microsoft Kinect

Remember Project Natal? Well, it has changed its name since its initial unveiling, but the whole aspect hasn’t yet. This is good news for the 360, as it now can directly compete with the Nintendo Wii. In fact, I think that Kinect will offer something that is even greater than what the Wii offers.


The abilities of Kinect are amazing. It’s almost as if Kinect will bring about a new way of interacting with our electronic devices, that is, if we can get used to it. It offers an intense way to play games and a new way to interact with characters in games. But, Kinect isn’t just about gaming, there’s also a lot dealing with social interaction. Live video chat was demonstrated at the E3 keynote, along with the ability to share content between Xbox devices is also worth noting here. But the Kinect device doesn’t just offer gaming and social interaction.


Interacting with Kinect is very interesting as well. A wave of a hand can log you into your Live Account and the ability to select games or videos is easy with a simple flick or move of the hand to select what service or feature you want to use. However, Kinect also includes voice interaction. While watching a movie, a user can simply say “Xbox Pause” and the movie will pause, really excellent.


Microsoft Kinect will be available November 4, so keep an eye out for it. Thankfully, Microsoft is releasing Kinect in time for the holiday season. This is good news for both Microsoft and consumers, as both will end up benefiting from this release date. It will be interesting to see how well these units sell over the holiday season.

Wrapping it up

With these new products, consumers will be able to use entertainment devices like never before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to overemphasize anything here, but I am excited to see how these devices will affect the overall market in the coming years, especially in the digital entertainment market.


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