Eyes on E3: Getting Kinected, and Slimming Down

New Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft’s Monday press release was all about the upcoming motion-control peripheral system, Kinect. You might remember Kinect formerly as Microsoft’s Project Natal, announced at the previous E3. An obvious attempt to buy into the incredible success of Nintendo’s motion-sensing Wii console, the system has evidently progressed enough to have an actual product name (as opposed to the Skunk Works-esque naming of Project Natal), and a release date – November 4, 2010 (just in time for Christmas, kids!). While I’m sure Microsoft is excited at the prospect of making a lot of money, the gaming community is somewhat less impressed.

But what exactly is Kinect? Simply, it is a method of controlling videogames on the XBox 360 not by a traditional controller, dominated by simple buttons and joysticks, but by the motion of one’s body. As opposed to the Wii’s Wiimote or the PS3’s much-maligned “ping-pong ball on a stick”, Kinect requires no external controller except the human body (if that sounds a little too jingoistic, I apologize). Simple motions, like waving, jumping, or running in place, will determine the actions of players on screen. Here’s Microsoft’s demo video.

It also demonstrates Kinect’s ability to accept voice commands, something I think is pretty cool.

The system is rumoured to cost around $149 US as a standalone unit, and be $300 when bundled with an Arcade console. Most would consider that a bit steep, considering a base Wii console retails for $199 US, and comes with a game and a Wii-plus add-on.

But for someone like me, who prefers to only have one console, Kinect would work. My wife is a fan of the Wii, and the sorts of games that appeal to her would work well here. Tempting, but maybe not at $149 (and probably more up here in the Great White North!).

Speaking of consoles, the other big announcement for Microsoft was the reveal of the muchrumoured, much-denied XBox 360 ‘slim’ console. Simply called the “XBox 360 250 Gb Console”, the press-produced moniker ‘slim’ is a little misleading, as the new console is just 17% smaller in volume than the current version. Some of the new features are;

  • Xbox 360 250GB Hard Drive: The internal 250GB hard drive allows you to save your games and store television shows, movies, music, pictures, trailers, levels, demos, and other con­tent available from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
  • Built in Wi-Fi: The new Xbox 360 is the only console with 802.11n Wi-Fi built in for a faster and easier connection to Xbox LIVE. Download or stream HD movies, TV episodes, and games from Xbox LIVE Marketplace in 1080p and 5.1 surround sound from anywhere in the house. Compatible with b/g/n networks.
  • Kinect ready: Coming this holiday, Kinect will make YOU the controller. With a dedicated, specialized port, the Xbox 360 250GB is built to connect seamlessly with the Kinect sensor — and have you up off the couch and into the world of Kinect in no time.

The other word on the street is that the slim no longer sounds like a Harrier jump jet taking off when it spins a disk. As well, the machine is shipping immediately. I spoke to an employee at a local game store, and he confirmed that the new consoles were supposed to be arriving today, even up here in Canada. Perhaps best of all, the new console will retail in Canada for $299, while the Elite drops to $249.

Actually, best of all, the new console can’t get a Red Ring of Death… because there is no red LED behind the power button.

Looks like Microsoft’s learning!

Posted on June 17, 2010 at 13:00 by Andrew Metcalfe · Permalink
In: Events · Tagged with: , , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Metcalfe, Geeking Out About. Geeking Out About said: Eyes on E3: Getting Kinected, and Slimming Down http://dlvr.it/1nzf5 […]

  2. Written by Tim Sevenhuysen
    on June 17, 2010 at 18:31
    Permalink

    I'm more interested in the new console than I am in Kinect. It would be worth it for a new purchase. But it isn't worth it to me to upgrade.

    Sure is pretty, though.

  3. Written by Andrew L Metcalfe
    on June 17, 2010 at 22:17
    Permalink

    Indeed. I'm looking at getting a new XBox, and I think I'll spring for the slim – the $50 over the Elite is worth quietness.

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