Microsoft is looking to put the Kinect motion-sensing device at the heart of its Xbox game console, unveiling plans on Monday to allow users to control live television feeds, search YouTube and play action games with voice commands.
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the company also announced new game titles from blockbuster franchises like Halo and Gears of War.
Microsoft introduced voice search with Bing on Xbox 360. Bing on Xbox searches Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN, as well as music, video and Xbox LIVE Marketplace to find the entertainment users want to enjoy. With Bing on Xbox and Kinect for Xbox 360, users can find the games, movies, TV shows, sports and music they want.
"This is an incredible time of growth and innovation for our business leveraging technologies that see us, hear us and connect us all together," said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. "This year by bringing together the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing, we are transforming how people enjoy entertainment."
Over the past two years, Microsoft has joined with some of the world's largest TV operators to bring live television to Xbox LIVE in the United Kingdom with Sky TV, in France with Canal+ and in Australia with FOXTEL. Now, Microsoft has announced its commitment to expand access to live television programming on Xbox 360 to more providers in the United States and around the world during the upcoming year. Users will enjoy news, sports and their favorite local channels, all just a voice command away, on Xbox 360. Also this year, Microsoft is teaming up with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to bring the depth of the world?s best mixed martial arts programming to Xbox LIVE.
As well as adding more entertainment with UFC, Microsoft is building on its catalog of movies and TV shows available on demand from Hulu Plus, Netflix and Zune by bringing YouTube to Xbox 360. Users will gain access to great "Web original" content from around the world ? the latest videos and gaming tips. And for the first time ever, users can control YouTube videos just by using their voice.
Microsoft also today announced several new titles on Xbox 360, including new installments of: "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," "Gears of War," "Forza Motorsport," and "Fable: The Journey," a new extension of the Fable franchise that will take advantage of Kinect technology. Today?s E3 keynote also included world-premiere trailers for the next Halo games and for a new Kinect-powered historical Roman epic called "Ryse," created by developer Crytek.
Fans got glimpses of two new games from perhaps the most beloved Xbox 360 game franchise, Halo. In addition to celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Xbox console with the release of a re-mastered version of "Halo Combat Evolved," Microsoft announced that fans can expect to see Halo 4 in holiday 2012.
Microsoft also announced the next wave of titles coming for controller-free Kinect as well as a few traditional controller games that have enhancements available for consumers who have a Kinect sensor.
Many of the new Kinect games are for families and kids of all ages, including a game from Disney in which players will be able to high-five Mickey Mouse or fly with Peter Pan and Wendy, as well as the game "Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster." For the bigger kids and everyone else, "Ryse" will bring the gritty experience of ancient Rome to life, and ? thanks to Kinect?s full-body recognition capabilities ? a Star Wars game will allow players to physically train as a Jedi.
Kinect fans also will experience sequels to some of the most popular release titles, including follow ups to "Dance Central" and "Kinect Sports."
A few new games, such as "Forza Motorsport 4," will still be played on the traditional Xbox controller, but will get a turbocharge from Kinect?s head-tracking features, Microsoft says. That means players will be able to do things such as move their head to check their mirror to check out who is hot on their tail. Games such as "Ghost Recon Future Soldier" and "Mass Effect 3" will also be enhanced by Kinect. Also, Ubisoft announced that all future Tom Clancy games will take advantage of Kinect.
EA SPORTS also announced Kinect support for several of its blockbuster titles in 2012, including "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR," "Madden NFL," and "FIFA." In the next 12 months, EA also has several additional titles that will feature Kinect, including "The Sims 3 Pets," "Family Game Night 4," and what is sure to be one of the biggest games of 2012, "Mass Effect 3."
Microsoft's Xbox E3 briefing also unveiled the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel and cloud storage features coming to Xbox LIVE. More information is available here