itwbennett writes: "The rumor comes to us from Kotaku, whose source SuperDaE says the next Xbox will come bundled with Kinect and it'll require Kinect to be on and calibrated in order for the console to function. If we can get past the Big Brother implications of your Xbox always watching you, there's some good news in there for developers, says blogger Peter Smith, who gives the rumor a 30% chance of being true: 'Game designers can build systems knowing that they have a functioning Kinect camera to rely on.'"
itwbennett writes: "For those of you who can't count on a friend to tell you that a little more air should come between you and your Calvins, a Bloomingdales store in Palo Alto has just the solution: An Xbox Kinect-based body scanner that will help you find your best fit. While body measuring systems aren't new, using the Xbox Kinect is a much more affordable solution. Which means that soon we'll all have the opportunity for a computer to tell us that we should 'avoid wearing low to mid rise jeans.'"
itwbennett writes: "According to a 56-page document from 2010 that was posted briefly at Scribd Saturday night, the 'Xbox 720 will launch at a $299 price point,' writes blogger Peter Smith. 'It'll have a Blu-ray drive and 4 GB of RAM. The document suggests it'll be about 6x as powerful as the Xbox 360 thanks to six to eight ARM/Intel x86 cores running at 2 Ghz. Three PowerPC cores will provide backwards compatibility with all Xbox 360 titles.' Smith notes that you should take this with a generous dose of salt given that even if this is a legitimate document, a lot can change in 2 years."
itwbennett writes: "Peter Smith has done the math on Microsoft's $99 Xbox 360 — 4GB model (no hard drive) and a Kinect sensor. Here's why it's a bad deal: 'You'll be paying $99 + $359.76 in monthly fees, or $458.76 over the course of two years. Compare that with (I'm using prices from Amazon that were accurate as of May 7th, 2012) $287.70 for an Xbox 360 4GB + Kinect bundle, and two 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards at $48.41 each, a total of $384.52. So you're paying almost $75 for the privilege of laying out small cash now.' And then there's the not insignificant matter of early termination fees."
itwbennett writes: "Redditor MS Nerd, who spreads false information as a sort of social experiment, is floating the rumor that Microsoft's next Xbox won't be the Xbox 720, but a smaller, cheaper Xbox. This time, though, he may be (mostly) right. The morsel of truth that blogger Peter Smith is 'taking from today's rumor is that Microsoft will bring a small form-factor, $100 Xbox to market in 2013. It'll have the same basic architecture as the current Xbox 360, just reduced in size, and it'll be designed and marketed primarily as a streaming media hub.' Sounds plausible."
itwbennett writes: "Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday: they won't be showing new hardware this year or 'anytime soon.' Microsoft told Kotaku that '2012 is all about Xbox 360.' Meanwhile, Bloomberg's mysterious sources are saying that Microsoft 'may show the successor to its Xbox 360 in June 2013 at the E3 conference and put it on sale that same year.' This would 'be a fast journey from announcement to launch,' says Peter Smith, 'but it'd mean we'd still get a new Xbox for holiday 2013, which is about the earliest anyone has expected it to arrive anyway.'"
itwbennett writes: "Escapist Magazine says that the next Xbox console will have a touch screen controller 'with a shape closer to Sony's sleek Vita handheld / Apple's iPad than Wii U's bulky unit' and that the touch screen would be surrounded by traditional Xbox buttons. Meanwhile, Boy Genius Report has divined from a job description looking for expertise in 'state of the art 3D imaging systems' that Xbox 720 is 3D. ITworld blogger Peter Smith reminds us that 'the current Xbox 360 does support 3D though I'm not aware of anyone who uses it (someone must). My guess is that Microsoft's emphasis on 3D will depend on whether the technology ever really catches on with home audiences.'"
itwbennett writes: "Eurogamer published a piece on a rumored Kinect 2 system that will most likely launch with the next iteration of the Xbox line, which might be sometime between late 2012 and 2014. Eurogamer says this new Kinect won't be hobbled by the limitations of the USB 2.0 port that the current Kinect uses; instead the hardware will be designed to give the new Kinect a faster pipeline to the system's internals. What this means, says blogger Peter Smith is that 'not only can Kinect 2 read finger movements (high on the wish-list for the current hardware) but it can read lips, too. I don't think they mean this in the sense that it can extrapolate what you're saying from your lip movements, but that it can tell who in a room is speaking by matching lip movement to audio input.'"
itwbennett writes: "Slashdot readers will remember a few weeks ago when Steve Ballmer unofficially announced that Xbox TV would be arriving this holiday season. Well, now Microsoft has made it official, issuing a press release on Wednesday. Although the release date isn't any more specific and the service doesn't seem to have a name, we have more details about how it will work. 'Much of the service will be predicated on you already having cable TV through a supported provider,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'If you're a cord-cutter a lot of what Microsoft is offering probably won't be available to you.' For the rest of you, a lot of what Xbox TV is depends on who your cable provider is, says Smith. 'Comcast says it is bringing its On Demand library to Xbox while Verizon says it will 'bring a selection of popular live TV channels to Xbox 360 and will be a leader in delivering live, multichannel streaming HD TV, integrated with Kinect, via Xbox.'"
itwbennett writes: "Gaming blog Kotaku posted a video a user swiping through the various dashboard screens using a Kinect motion controller. You can watch what the Kinect 'sees' through the small inset at the bottom right of the screen. 'What's potentially disappointing about this leaked video is that the person controlling it is clearly standing up,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'If Kinect doesn't work as well sitting down it'll be a total failure in terms of a dashboard controller.'"
itwbennett writes: "There are still a lot of questions about Microsoft's planned Xbox TV service, says ITworld blogger Peter Smith, like whether the entire service will work through IP. 'Or will Microsoft be selling some kind of add-on attachment for the 360 that'll accept a coax cable feed?' But a forum post from Verizon's Bobbi Henson offers a few clues, while also holding to their we-don't-comment-on-rumors position. Here are the highlights:
'While we don’t comment on speculation of this kind, we do have a very strong point of view on the future of entertainment to offer you today.... We’re in the business of breaking down old technology boundaries to create a borderless world where work, play and home become one virtual reality. No matter where you are, you can reach out and touch the people, the information and the entertainment you love, any time, on all your favorite devices.... Because FiOS TV is such a powerful, interactive, cloud-based service, it is a natural match for devices like game consoles, and we've demonstrated our ability to blend FiOS with gaming systems at events like the Consumer Electronics Show.... We’re not announcing any new products today, but stay tuned for the future!
itwbennett writes: Are you feeling the after-effects of yesterday's release of Halo: Reach? Well, don't feel guilty for sleepwalking through work today, says blogger Peter Smith: 'You weren't up late playing a video game. No sir! You were up honing your decision making skills. A post over at Gamasutra yesterday detailed a study that demonstrated that people who played a first person shooter completed tasks more quickly, and just as accurately, as a control group who played some boring Sims 2 game.'
itwbennett writes: Giving no explanation beyond that it 'will provide the greatest benefit to the Xbox LIVE community,' Microsoft's General Manager for Xbox Live, Mark Whitten, announced that as of April 15th, Microsoft will be shutting down its Xbox Live service for the original Xbox and its games. 'Cold comfort for those of you who still enjoy playing Xbox titles like Halo 2 with your friends,' writes blogger Peter Smith. But Smith notes that Whitten's announcement does hint at some form of restitution for those affected, encouraging users to check their LIVE messages for more details and opportunities. Link to Original Source
itwbennett writes: If you have an older Xbox with no HDMI port and one of the chipsets that lead to horrific reliability problems, Walmart has is running an Xbox Arcade deal this weekend (priced at its usual $199, but coming with a $100 gift card) that could be a great way to upgrade to newer hardware on the cheap, says blogger Peter Smith. Unfortunately, you'll have to jump through some hoops:
Buy the Arcade system from Walmart for (effectively) $99, take it home, move the hard drive from your existing Xbox onto it, then trade your old Xbox in at a Gamestop. They're running an 'extra $25' deal on trade-ins of console hardware until November 8th, according to their website. Gamestop doesn't advertise what it normally offers for trade-ins but I've heard from users anywhere from $50-$75. For the sake of argument let's assume $50, but with the bonus (as long as you go by November 8th) you'll get $75. So for an outlay of $199 you wind up with a brand new Xbox to replace your old one, and $175 in store credit from Walmart and Gamestop. Not a bad deal.
itwbennett writes: The other shoe has dropped on the upcoming preview program for the next Xbox 360 update and it's going to cost you. In a post on the Major Nelson blog, Xbox's Larry Hryb reveals that this next update will lock-out unauthorized storage devices. As blogger Peter Smith reminds us, 'the Xbox 360 comes in two (currently) SKUs, one with a hard drive, and one without. The drive-less Xbox 360 Arcade unit is cheap ($199) but to realistically use it, you'll need to buy a "Memory Unit" (basically a proprietary USB stick) or an Xbox hard drive.... A 512 MB Microsoft branded Memory Unit goes for $29.99 at BestBuy.com. A 2 GB third party Memory Unit from Datel goes for $39.99, and the Datel unit is expandable using microSD cards....If you bought the Datel and it's full of data, between now and the launch of the new update you're going to have to run out and buy 4 of the Microsoft units at $29.99 each, or more likely, pick up the $99.99 60GB Live Starter Pack for Xbox 360.' Link to Original Source