Microsoft Kinect arrives 4 November
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Microsoft will begin selling its "Kinect" motion-sensing game system on 4 November 4, before the crucial Christmas season, hoping to lure new and casual players to the Xbox and steal a march on rivals Nintendo and Sony.
The world's largest software vendor, which has ambitions of making its Xbox 360 not just a gaming device but a hub of home video and Web entertainment, will also begin selling a smaller, same-priced version of the console this week.
Microsoft would not say how much Kinect - which plugs into Xboxes and lets players control games with body and hand gestures - will sell for, though analysts' estimates range from £30 to £120. 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 game in which Jedi Knights do battle with light sabers, and a fitness program that lets players compete in sports from bowling to sprinting.
The world's leading gaming hardware makers, hoping to reignite the slumping $60 billion (£40.6 billion) industry, will unveil a plethora of futuristic gadgets at the E3 convention this week.
The rush of technology comes just as the video game industry, which dwarfs the $10 billion (£6.76 billion) domestic movie box office, needs it. U.S. industry sales - hardware, software and accessories - are down more than 10 per cent to $4.7 billion (£3.1 billion) this year through April, according to research firm NPD Group.
Microsoft also said on Monday it had struck a deal with Walt Disney Co's ESPN network to broadcast live sporting events into US 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.
"This year's E3 gives the gaming industry the first real opportunity to prove that it's not just about making shoot-em-up games for testosterone-fueled boys," Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said.
"This is because the secret to the gaming industry's future is the realization that game consoles are the most powerful device in the living room," he wrote in a note.
In a surprise announcement, Microsoft also showed off a more compact, higher-capacity Xbox console that will ship to US retailers on Monday and be available to consumers this week, with a 250-gigabyte hard drive. It's believed the console will be made available in the UK on July 16, priced at £200.
Life & Style blogs
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...