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Tuesday, June 15, 2010
New Xbox 360 Ships This Week

Besides the annoucnement of the "Kinect" hub for controller-free gaming on Xbox 360, Microsoft announced a new Xbox 360 available this week.

Back in black, the new Xbox 360 is sleek and silent. It can be connected to Xbox LIVE through built-in Wi-Fi N and comes with a 250GB hard drive.

The newly designed console is also whisper-quiet, Microsoft said. The system also comes with everything you need to get started, including an Xbox 360 wireless controller, Xbox 360 headset, HDMI output, USB flash drive storage capabilities and more, and a one-year limited warranty on the console. Microsoft has managed to shrink-down the Xbox 360 by using a more energy-efficient 45nm CPU with integrated GPU, compared to the 65nm chip that powered the previous Xbox 360. The new Xbox 360 is also has a smaller 135W PSU.

The new Xbox 360 will be available this week priced at $299.99 ERP.

Kinect and new games

Microsoft will also begin selling its "Kinect" motion-sensing game system on November 4, before the crucial holiday season.Kinect plugs into Xboxes and lets players control games with body and hand gestures and will sell for, though analysts' estimates range from $50 to $200.

Executives said 15 titles, including one from Ubisoft, will be available at the time of launch.

Ahead of this week's E3 convention, Microsoft offered sneak peeks of upcoming titles, including a LucasArts Star Wars game, Disnay games and a fitness program that lets players compete in sports from bowling to sprinting.

Microsoft unveiled eight hurdling, running, dancing, driving and soaring Kinect games:

- "Kinectimals" (Frontier Studio, Microsoft Game Studios). A wide-eyed Bengal Tiger cub cocks its head to the side and playfully peers at you. "Kinectimals" invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world?s most exotic creatures. Just like real pets, your "Kinectimals" will come running when they hear your voice, respond to commands like "jump," "roll-over" and "play dead," and purr with joy when you scratch them behind the ears.

- "Your Shape: Fitness Evolved" (Ubisoft). The proprietary Player Projection technology of the game puts your body into the game. You?ll physically interact with virtual environments and you?ll be captivated by visual effects that respond to your movement and impact. Burn calories your way ? choose a personal trainer to help you meet your specific fitness goals, take a yoga or martial arts class, or play fun family-friendly minigames. As you exercise, you?ll receive specific feedback on your every move, thanks to the game?s real-time tracking system.

- "Kinect Joy Ride" (Big Park, Microsoft Game Studios).It is the first controller-free racing game, will take you and your friends on the ride of your lives ? no drivers license required.

- "Kinect Sports" (Rare, Microsoft Game Studios). Turn your living room into a world-class stadium, bowling alley, soccer pitch or arena.

- "Kinect Adventures" (Microsoft Game Studios). Float in outer space. Tackle mountaintop obstacle courses. And dive into the deep to explore a leaky underwater observatory ? all from your living room. With "Kinect Adventures," you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations.

- "Dance Central" (MTV Games). A full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. Completely free from any controller and featuring full-body tracking, the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360 allows you to experience real dance with your friends and family.

- Also coming to Kinect this holiday are titles representing the top names in the gaming industry including interactive fitness product "EA SPORTS Active 2?" (EA SPORTS), "DECA SPORTS FREEDOM" (Hudson Entertainment), "Dance Masters" (Konami), "Adrenalin Misfits" (Konami), "Zumba Fitness" (Majesco), "Sonic Free Riders" (SEGA), "The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout" (THQ), "Motion Sports" (Ubisoft), and "Game Party: In Motion" (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).

Microsoft also said on Monday it had struck a deal with Walt Disney Co's ESPN network to broadcast live sporting events into U.S. living rooms through the Xbox 360 games console, bypassing traditional cable providers.

Live games will be broadcast through Microsoft's Xbox Live service, and will be offered at no additional cost.

It already offers Netflix movies and Zune music and videos through its Xbox Live online subscription service. There has been talk that it will announce a deal to add Hulu TV shows to the service at E3.

The arrival of Kinect may pressure Nintendo, which pioneered motion-sensing gaming through an all-purpose controller with its Wii system. Nintendo is expected to unveil more details on its 3D games system that requires no glasses at E3.

Sony is expected to unveil its "Move" platform, which will compete with Kinect and Wii.

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