Technologizer posts about Xbox 360

Microsoft May Ditch Xbox Live Points, For Real This Time

By  |  Posted at 9:08 am on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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Inside Mobile Apps is reporting as rumor what Xbox 360 users have wanted for years: the death of Microsoft Points.

Kathleen De Vere’s “source with knowledge of the company’s decision” says Microsoft will phase out its points system by the end of the year, and that the change will affect the Xbox 360, Windows Phones and the Zune Marketplace. Mobile developers are reportedly being warned to plan their downloadable content and in-app purchases around the change in policy. Microsoft, not surprisingly, would not comment.

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Kinect Made Whole in Xbox 360 Overhaul

By  |  Posted at 3:32 pm on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

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I bought a Kinect for Xbox 360 a few months ago, but not so I could flail my arms and legs around looking like a fool in Dance Central (although that, too, is happening). Mostly, I was curious to see how Kinect would fit into Microsoft’s Xbox 360 dashboard update, which went live late Tuesday night.

To my delight, Kinect now plays a significant role in the dashboard. It’s no longer penned into special menus with limited functionality. Instead, Kinect now allows you to control almost any part of the Xbox 360 with voice commands and motion controls. And it works really well.

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Walmart says its $50 price cut on the 4 GB Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle is temporary, not a permanent “rollback” as advertised. The sale price will be honored until September 5 or while supplies last.

Posted by Jared at 1:47 pm

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Xbox 360 Price Cut: Microsoft Won’t, Walmart Will

By  |  Posted at 2:20 pm on Thursday, August 25, 2011

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When Sony announced a $50 price cut for the Playstation 3, I assumed Microsoft wouldn’t rush to do the same with the Xbox 360. The console is sitting on top of the sales charts in North America right now, so there’s no immediate need to drum up sales by slashing prices.

But that’s not stopping Walmart. A leaked flyer, provided to Joystiq, shows that the Xbox 360 4 GB bundle with Kinect will get a $50 price cut to $249 on August 28. The leaked flyer doesn’t show any price cuts for other Xbox 360 models or bundles.

Microsoft has distanced itself from the rollback. “Walmart made an independent decision to implement this temporary price cut,” the company told Joystiq. “We’ve made no announcements about price drops, and do not discuss our pricing plans in advance.”

I buy the claim that Walmart is acting alone. But while Microsoft calls it “temporary,” Walmart’s circular says nothing of the sort. And if the retailer can afford to roll back the price, I wonder how long it’ll be before other retailers — and Microsoft itself — do the same.

My gut still says that any price cuts on Microsoft’s end will be designed to sell more Kinect units, ahead of a big software push for the motion-sensing camera. New games like Dance Central 2 are on the way, and the Xbox 360 dashboard is getting a redesign with deeper Kinect support.



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ESPN’s Xbox Overhaul Could Be Cooler Than Cable

By  |  Posted at 4:21 pm on Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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ESPN’s app for the Xbox 360 is about to get a lot better, just in time for college football.

The app, which relaunches on August 25 according to Gizmodo, will let users watch two games at once in 720p, with the ability to pause, rewind and replay each game independently. The second viewing window will also be able to show scores from around the league and replays from the game you’re already watching.

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Microsoft’s “NuAds” for Kinect: Hey, Whatever Brings the Content

By  |  Posted at 4:15 pm on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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Microsoft’s got more ideas in store for Kinect, the motion-sensing Xbox 360 camera that launched last fall. This week, the company announced a lofty goal to create interactive advertising powered by voice and gestures.

Microsoft is calling them “NuAds,” and has walked through a few examples on the Microsoft Advertising blog. During an ad for Coke, for example, the user can say “Xbox Tweet” to share the ad on Twitter. An ad for Toyota might allow the user to say “Xbox Near Me” and find nearby dealerships, and an ad for another TV broadcast might let the user schedule a calendar reminder by saying “Xbox Schedule.”

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who feels queasy at the sight of more intrusive ads in the name of “audience engagement” and “social advocacy,” but there is a silver lining here: If this is what helps Microsoft lure advertisers — and by extension content providers — to Internet television, then it’s all good.

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Nyko Solves Kinect’s Small Apartment Problem

By  |  Posted at 3:49 pm on Friday, June 10, 2011

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When Microsoft launched Kinect for Xbox 360 last November, it came with one big gotcha: You need at least six feet of open space between you and the motion-sensing camera, and preferably more. If you had a small apartment, Kinect was not for you.

Finally, third-party peripheral maker Nyko is trying to solve that problem with Zoom for Kinect, a $30 clip-on accessory that’s supposed to decrease the amount of open space required. Whereas Kinect’s ideal range is 8 feet to 10 feet, Zoom for Kinect reduces the ideal range to between 6 feet and 8 feet.

When trying out the Zoom for Kinect at Nyko’s E3 booth, I didn’t notice any issues with sensitivity. Actually, I was able to get within one arm’s length of the Kinect and still have my movements detected, although players have to stand farther back when more than one person is involved. The Xbox 360 only warned me to back off when I got within a foot of the device.

Zoom for Kinect is nothing more than a set of wide-angle lenses that sit in front of the Kinect camera. The attachment slides over the Kinect unit and locks into place when the lenses match up. The idea is so simple that I’m surprised Microsoft isn’t selling its own version, but I’m glad someone has given consideration to folks who don’t live in luxurious open spaces (read: college students, New York residents).

The Zoom for Kinect peripheral goes on sale August 16.



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Microsoft’s E3: A Bang for Kinect, a Whimper for Live TV

By  |  Posted at 2:35 pm on Monday, June 6, 2011

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Good thing Microsoft had a packed line-up of Kinect games to show at its E3 press conference, because last week’s big rumor about live TV on the Xbox 360 turned out to be kind of a dud.

Kinect, the motion-sensing, audio-detecting Xbox 360 camera that launched last year, dominated the discussion at Microsoft’s press conference. I counted 15 announcements for games that will either support or require Kinect, plus a revamped console menu designed for gestures and voice.

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Triple the Kinect Games? That’s Weak, Microsoft

By  |  Posted at 8:10 am on Friday, May 13, 2011

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Microsoft is making what sounds like a lofty promise for Kinect: By year-end, the number of available games for the Xbox 360 motion sensor will triple.

But given that six months after launch, Kinect’s existing lineup stands at a mere 26 games, Microsoft promise isn’t that bold. Hitting 78 games should be cakewalk, and it’s sad to see the revolutionary controller get such little support from developers and publishers.

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Rumor: New Xbox May Be Announced Next Month

By  |  Posted at 10:04 am on Friday, May 6, 2011

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Nintendo might not be the only company showing off a new game console at E3 in June. An anonymous source told Develop that Microsoft could announce a new Xbox console at the trade show.

The source supposedly spotted a very early build of the Xbox 360 successor at Electronic Arts’ offices, stored inside a PC shell.

“Quite often when new consoles come around they’re packaged into a PC shell, but actually what’s inside is an entirely new console,” said the source, who Develop described as “a senior, trusted, well-placed” individual who is not employed at Microsoft or EA.

(Props to Develop, by the way, for qualifying its anonymous source with a bit of detail for readers — a rarity in games and tech journalism.)

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Hulu Plus is Great on Xbox Live; With Kinect, Not So Much

By  |  Posted at 6:43 pm on Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Hulu Plus comes to Xbox Live on Friday, and Microsoft let me have an early look along with a Kinect loaner unit to check out voice and motion controls.

If you’re not familiar with Hulu Plus, it’s an $8 per month streaming movie service focused mainly on current television shows. The selection isn’t as broad as Hulu’s free website, but it’s the only way to get Hulu on set-top boxes, iPhones and iPads (without workarounds like PlayOn). It also lets you watch archived back seasons of many television shows, instead of just the most recent episodes.

The most striking thing about Hulu Plus on the Xbox 360 is how closely it resembles Netflix’s console app, and for that matter the entire Xbox 360 interface. Microsoft has imposed a nearly identical design, with a list of sections on the top left and tile-shaped movies and TV selections in a sliding horizontal strip down the middle. Even Hulu Plus’ search function works exactly the same way as Netflix, with a row of letters on top and a strip of results that narrows down as you type. Microsoft’s made some big strides in user interface lately, borrowing much of Windows Phone 7′s uniformity and design flourishes, and it shows here.

Kinect support, however, needs a lot of work.

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Bungie-Free, Microsoft May Regurgitate Halo 1

By  |  Posted at 9:41 am on Friday, February 4, 2011

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Halo’s been at a crossroads ever since Halo: Reach launched in September. With developer Bungie now locked in a 10-year, multi-console deal with Activision, Microsoft alone must decide what to do with its golden Xbox franchise.

But don’t expect anything rash in the near future. Over at Joystiq, Alexander Sliwinski’s sources say Microsoft will release a remake of the original game, Halo: Combat Evolved, in time for the holidays. Alexander has a solid record with Microsoft rumors — last year he broke the news that the Xbox 360 would support storage on USB sticks — and this report has a bunch of specifics.

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Slowly, Windows Phone 7 Games Start Talking to the Xbox 360

By  |  Posted at 9:56 am on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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One of Windows Phone 7′s most tantalizing hooks is Xbox Live, an offshoot of Microsoft’s online video game service, but so far the interaction between mobile and console games has been limited.

Slowly, that’s starting to change. At a CES press event, Microsoft was showing off Full House Poker, an upcoming Texas Hold ‘Em game for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. Although the games differ on each platform, and you’ll have to buy each one separately, your performance in one game affects the other.

Microsoft has done some tie-ins before — Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, for instance, unlocks an achievement in Crackdown 2 for Xbox 360 — but Full House Poker is the most closely linked game I’ve seen yet.

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With Red Dead Redemption, Xbox 360 Downloads Creep Up On Retail

By  |  Posted at 5:46 pm on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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When Microsoft launched Xbox 360 Games on Demand in August 2009, it had the air of a clothing store with nothing but last year’s inventory. All the game downloads were at least a year older than their retail counterparts, and some dated back to the console’s launch.

But slowly, the digital download service has crept up on retail, and the announcement of Red Dead Redemption for Games on Demand seems like a major milestone. The game is only seven months old, it’s on a lot of lists for game of the year, and it’s priced at $60 — same as retail. Continue reading this story…



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Your Next Pay TV Provider: Microsoft?

By  |  Posted at 9:34 am on Monday, November 29, 2010

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Reuters reports a rumor that Microsoft wants to offer a subscription television service, and has at least talked to media companies about the possibility.

Microsoft would act as a “virtual cable operator” and deliver content over the Xbox 360 or other devices for a monthly fee. But right now, it’s all early-stage scuttlebutt, as the service isn’t likely to arrive for 12 months, if at all, and no specific media companies are mentioned.

Microsoft already dabbles in Web TV on the Xbox 360, and is locked in battle with Sony to create the best array of options. The console has Netflix, ESPN3 and on demand video, and Hulu Plus is coming next year.

This sounds like something different. It seems like Microsoft wants to line up a lot of content providers to offer a bundled service similar to cable, but over its own set-top box via the Internet.

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Is Kinect for Xbox 360 Sold Out? Don’t Buy That

By  |  Posted at 9:47 am on Monday, October 18, 2010

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Sold out products make a company look good, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft is boasting about Kinect for Xbox 360′s supposedly limited availability.

In a press release announcing Kinect’s launch titles, Microsoft says pre-orders for the motion-sensing camera are “rapidly selling out.” Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, wrote on his blog that “if you have not placed your order yet you may want to take care of that.”

I wouldn’t bother heeding his advice, at least if you live in the United States. Come November 4, I have a feeling you’ll be able to walk into a games retailer, see Kinect for yourself and make an informed decision on whether to buy. No need to rush.

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