Kinect Archive

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Microsoft announces blue Xbox 360 as part of its 2014 holiday bundles

Xbox 360 Holiday Bundles

If blue is your favorite color and you’ve always dreamed of having a blue Xbox 360, then you’re in luck. Microsoft’s Major Nelson has announced three new holiday bundles that will be available during the 2014 holiday season, and one of them includes a new special edition blue Xbox 360. All three bundles will sell for $249.99 and include an Xbox 360, at least two games and a month of Xbox Live Gold membership.

The three bundles to choose from are:

  • Xbox 360 500GB Holiday Value Bundle
  • Xbox 360 Special Edition Blue Bundle
  • Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Bundle

With the holiday bundle you get a 500GB Xbox 360, a month of Xbox Live Gold membership and copies of both Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Those who opt for the Special Edition Blue bundle will get all of the Holiday Value Bundle items, but with a special edition arctic blue console and controller. The standard bundle is available now at retailers nationwide. The special edition bundle is exclusive to Wal-Mart and will be in US Wal-Mart stores starting October 7.

If you’re like me and you can’t wait to try out the recently released Dance Central Spotlight game, then the Kinect bundle may be the bundle for you. This bundle includes a 4GB Xbox 360, a Kinect, a month of Xbox Live Gold membership and copies of Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, and Forza Horizon. This bundle is exclusive to Target and will be available in stores starting September 30.

Source: Major Nelson

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Phil Spencer changes Kinect outlook

phil_spencer

When the Xbox One was originally debuted the Kinect was stressed as an integral part of the system and was required to even be able to run the console. However, after a year has passed and Stephen Elop has been replaced by Phil Spencer the outlook towards Kinect has been changed.

“This might seem backwards, but I believe the decision we made to allow people to buy Xbox One without Kinect included, in the end, will actually lead to more Kinects in the market,” he said. “I believe that you’ve got to sell the console before you can sell Kinect.”

This decision was clear based on their E3 presentation, where Kinect wasn’t stressed and rarely mentioned so that the games on display could be given their time in the limelight. He also believes that this choice is better for the developers, “Developers will choose when Kinect is part of the experience and when it’s not, and that’s the way it should be.”

Even with this change in philosophy Phil Spencer still says he is constantly being pitched Kinect games, “I think it’s great because people see it as an outlet for creativity, whether it’s immersion, whether it’s voice integrated in some interesting way, whether it’s gesture,” he said. “I think that the creative conversations I’m having with studios are more about, what is the core of what your game is, and then the studio actually usually comes to me and says, ‘Here’s how Kinect’s going to make that better.’

“In terms of a specific focus to say, ‘Hey, you guys, you have to do something that requires Kinect.’ I’m not doing that. I’m saying you need to go make games that are great. We think Kinect adds functionality to the platform that makes games better, and developers will use that when they think it will make their game better.”

Source: Polygon

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Phil Harrison: Kinect-free Xbox will lead to a ‘virtuous cycle’

Xbox One Kinect

In the wake of the recent announcement that Microsoft will soon begin selling Xbox One consoles sans packed-in Kinect sensors for $399, gamers and the media have wondered aloud what this means for the both Xbox One and Kinect. Speaking with Total Xbox last week, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison attempted to paint a rosy picture for both console and peripheral.

Harrison recapped his company’s “very significant” decision to offer gamers two choices for acquiring an Xbox One and stated that “fundamentally that is good for opening up the Xbox One ecosystem – the more consumers who buy Xbox One, it’s a virtuous cycle for more developers to make and more consumers to play games, and that is what we’re committed to achieving and continuing.

“But we remain committed to Kinect as the premium way to experience the Xbox One vision,” he insisted. “Over 80 percent of Kinect Xbox Ones are active, over 120 voice commands are issued per day on average by all users of the console, so when you have this premium experience that is where the Xbox One comes alive.”

Harrison also took the opportunity to boast about Xbox One simultaneously being home to ID@Xbox titles like Strike Suit Zero and major retail releases Titanfall, calling the convergence “exactly our vision.”

Source: Total Xbox

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$399 Kinect-free Xbox One coming June 9

Microsoft’s Xbox One will achieve price parity with Sony’s competing PlayStation 4 on June 9. It’s on that date that a new One SKU sans Kinect sensor will become available for a $399 MSRP, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced today on Xbox Wire. This cheaper Kinect-free take on on the Xbox One will be sold in all markets in which the console is currently available.

Spencer noted the importance of fan feedback to the console holder, alluding to changes such as the elimination of the once-planned always-online feature of the Xbox One due to massive gamer backlash. “Today, we’re excited to share more ways your feedback is impacting the products we build,” he added.

The Head of Xbox also took the opportunity to point out that Microsoft isn’t forgetting about the millions of gamers who already have a Kinect sensor. “To be clear, as we introduce this new Xbox One console option, Kinect remains an important part of our vision,” Spencer wrote. “Many of you are using Kinect for Xbox One every day. In fact, more than 80 percent of you are actively using Kinect, with an average of 120 voice commands per month on each console.”

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Microsoft says Kinect could be used to measure TV audience reactions

Kinect

Polygon published an interview this week of Nancy Tellem, Microsoft’s entertainment and digital media president, about the possible benefits that Kinect could offer with the new Xbox Originals programming. Could Kinect be used to view you while you’re watching television and send your viewing reactions back to Microsoft? The answer is yes.

However, before you get all paranoid of Big Brother watching over you, Tellem says that if this type of tracking ever became available it would be optional for the user whether they wanted to participate or not. At this time, Microsoft has no plans to employ this type of tracking, but if it or any other television network wanted to, Tellem confirmed that the technology to make it happen is already in place.

What Tellem and Microsoft really envision for Xbox TV and Kinect is providing users with a more “interactive” viewing experience. Imagine watching your favorite television show, while Skyping with your friends, checking sports scores and then getting in a round of Titanfall during commercials. That is the experience that Tellem and Xbox are striving to create.

The Xbox One was designed to eliminate the need to have a laptop out, your Xbox on one television and a separate television on for watching shows. Microsoft wants its next-gen console to provide all of those services for you simultaneously one handy device. The Xbox One already allows users to Skype while watching TV, but Microsoft wants to build upon this and offer users even more interaction options.

Source: Polygon

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April Xbox One system update will begin rolling out tonight

april xbox one system update

Major Nelson has just announced that the latest Xbox One system update will begin rolling out in a few hours. While we were already aware of some of the features coming with this push, his latest blog post details the full list of enhancements. You can check out the list, which includes friend list improvements, Kinect tuning, and automatic system updates, after the break.

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Kinect-based system being used to protect the Korean DMZ

Kinect

South Korean programmer Jae Kwan Ko has developed a Kinect-based software system that is being used to monitor the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.

Its existence has only recently been made public but has been in use since last August. Hankooki also reported that the Kinect-based system can tell the difference between animals and humans. It has been used to identify objects that cross the border, and if a human is detected by the system, the nearby outpost will be alerted.

Jae Kwon Ko has said that in the future the sensor will detect heat and heart rates. This could potentially mean that they may upgrade to the Xbox One’s version of Kinect at some point in the future, as Microsoft’s next-gen console has not yet been released in South Korea.

He has also said that, “[He’s] never even thought of a game system performing national defense tasks”.

Source: Hankooki via Kotaku

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Does Kinect justify the Xbox One’s $500 price tag?

xbox_one_kinect

There has been a veritable whirlwind of excitement, controversy and anticipation surrounding the release of Microsoft’s latest video game console since it was unveiled back in May. Microsoft has had to backpedal on unpopular policies regarding digital rights management and limitations placed on used games, but the electric feeling that surrounds every console launch has truly never wavered.

Despite some of the unpopular choices made by Microsoft, the Xbox One remains at its core not only a capable gaming machine, but also an all-around entertainment hub. The real question, then, is how to justify its $500 price tag: a $100 premium over the PS4.

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Xbox One: Should you wait or should you buy?

XboxOne_1

With the Xbox One set to launch in only a few days (November 22, 2013), it’s time to take a deeper look at what the console offers at launch and whether its initial wave of features and games makes an immediate Xbox One upgrade right for you or if you should hold off for a while until the console’s feature set and game library has grown. To do so, XBLAFans will look at what the console will have to offer on November 22 and attempt to determine whether or not that launch offering makes sense for you.

Do you consider yourself a tech trendsetter?

Are you one of those people who always have to have the newest tech? Do you constantly upgrade your phone to the latest version in order to stay up to date with ever-changing technology? If so, then the Xbox One is for you. After eight long years with the 360, the next generation of living room gaming is truly about to commence (sorry, Wii U, we still love you for what you are) and you shouldn’t let yourself get left behind. If the console’s recently updated specs weren’t enough to convince you, then the new UI walkthrough might be the final push you need. The video will show you how the Xbox One will change not just your gaming experience, but your overall home entertainment experience for years to come.

Microsoft has done with the Xbox One and Kinect what no other console has been able to achieve: it has solved the problem of navigating a UI on a TV from the comfort of a couch. From the very inception of consoles, it was evident that a mouse and keyboard were awkward to use while sitting on a couch, which led to the introduction of the controller. For many years the controller was a brilliant way to game, and it’s still an integral part of today’s gaming experience. However, as consoles have grown from pure gaming systems into entertainment hubs, current-gen console UIs have grown clunky, their menus becoming unmanageable. With the Xbox One, all of that clunkiness is gone; you can switch from app to game to TV to Skype within seconds all with the power of your voice. Nothing about Microsoft’s incoming console says next-gen more than its new UI.

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Xbox One’s Kinect camera can scan Xbox Live QR codes in seconds

Xbox One Kinect

The aggravating days of slowly typing in 25 digits in order to redeem Xbox Live Arcade games, Xbox Live subscriptions and other downloadable Xbox items may be ending for those gamers who purchase Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox One console when it goes on sale starting November 22. Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb showcased on Vine today the Xbox One Kinect camera’s ability to scan Xbox Live membership cards in mere seconds through the use of QR codes.

In the video, which can be seen here, Hryb tells his Kinect to “use a code” and holds an Xbox Live 14-day trial card in front of the camera. The code is processed rapidly, with his Xbox asking him in about two seconds if he wants to redeem the XBL code it’s just scanned.

The technology and speed at which it operates is hardly new, as smartphone users have been enjoying such functionality for years now. It is, however, new to Xbox, and it’s an additional feature that is sure to be welcomed by a community that’s spent the Xbox 360’s life cycle begrudgingly growing accustomed to typing in lengthy codes in order to redeem codes for games, XBL subscriptions, DLC and more.

Though Hryb’s video demonstrates QR code-scanning as the new standard for XBL subscription cards, it isn’t clear at this time whether or not QR codes will be printed on all Xbox One game and item download cards. Microsoft’s Xbox Support account tweeted a nebulous response to a gamer’s question about the possibility of all cards featuring Kinect-scannable QR codes. “We don’t have that information to share at this time,” stated Xbox Support.

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