Microsoft reportedly plans to bring Kinect to Windows Phone 8

By on April 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM.

Microsoft reportedly plans to bring Kinect to Windows Phone 8

Microsoft’s motion- and voice-based Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 video game console and Windows PCs is coming to Windows Phone 8, VR-Zone reported this week. The software giant is currently working on integrating the Kinect Natural User Interface with its upcoming mobile platform refresh. Microsoft is reportedly dedicating a number of resources to the project and hoping to have it available by the first or second update to its Windos Phone 8 operating system. The biggest developmental challenge thus far has apparently been the lack of room for Kinect cameras on smartphones. “Kinect has three cameras, one of which his infrared. We can’t put an IR camera on a smartphone, and without it, NUI won’t work in dark,” VR-Zone’s unnamed source claimed. Microsoft is said to be integrating Kinect technology to further entice consumers to adopt the Windows Phone platform. More →

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Flutter app brings Kinect-like gesture controls to iTunes, Spotify [video]

By on March 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM.

Flutter app brings Kinect-like gesture controls to iTunes, Spotify [video]

Microsoft’s wildly popular Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 brought motion-based controls to the masses when it launched in late 2010. While similar technology will be built into a variety of consumer electronics moving forward — especially HDTVs — Mac users now have access to a free app that will add gesture controls to their current OS X computers. Currently compatible with just two programs, iTunes and Spotify, the Flutter app for Mac allows users to control music and video playback by making hand gestures that are recorded and relayed by the PC’s built-in iSight camera. The app is an early alpha build, yet we found that it performs as described and it worked well even from a few feet away. Flutter is not yet available in the Mac App Store, but it can be downloaded for free directly from the company’s website. A video showcasing the app follows below. More →

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Video game sales plummet in January, Xbox leads consoles for sixth straight month

By on February 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM.

Video game sales plummet in January, Xbox leads consoles for sixth straight month

Sales of video game hardware and software in the United States plummeted last month according to new data from market research firm The NPD Group. The firm’s January figures suggest that sales of video game hardware fell 38% to $199.5 million, down from $324 million in January 2011. Video game software sales slid 38% as well in January, falling to $355.9 million, and sales of accessories in the U.S. dropped 18% year-on-year to $195.2 million. Total industry sales were down 34% to $750.6 million. “January retail performance experienced steep declines with a lack of software launches, and poor Hardware and Accessory performance partly related to bad comps from Kinect-related success in Jan’11,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other ways to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $350 – $400 million in sales.” Callahan noted that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console for the sixth consecutive month in January, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the top-selling software title. A complete list of NPD’s top-10 games for the month follows below. More →

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Kinect for Windows now available for $249

By on February 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

Kinect for Windows now available for $249

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft would ship the Kinect for Windows on February 1st. The company has delivered on its promise and on Wednesday, version 1.0 of the Kinect for Windows SDK and runtime were made available for download. The software giant’s distribution partners across the globe have also begun to ship Kinect for Windows hardware. The device will retail for $249, with a special discounted academic price of $149 for “Qualified Educational Users” that will come later this year. More →

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Microsoft and Asus may be working on Kinect-enabled Windows 8 laptops

By on January 27, 2012 at 8:00 PM.

Microsoft and Asus may be working on Kinect-enabled Windows 8 laptops

Asus is reportedly working on Windows 8 laptops that are equipped with Microsoft’s Kinect technology. The Daily recently reported that it was able to “check out” two different prototype laptops that “appeared” to be made by Asus. The Kinect sensor was built into the area where a notebook’s camera would typically reside, and The Daily also noted a set of LEDs below the screen. Microsoft reportedly confirmed that the notebooks were Kinect-enabled prototypes. As The Daily points out, a Kinect-enabled notebook could allow a user to interact with Windows 8 or play games using motion controls, much like Xbox 360 Kinect users are able to do now. It is unclear when, or even if, the notebooks will ever be released. More →

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Microsoft gets head start on rumored ‘iTV’ with voice controlled TV for Xbox

By on December 5, 2011 at 8:35 AM.

Microsoft gets head start on rumored ‘iTV’ with voice controlled TV for Xbox

“A revolution is happening in the living room,” Microsoft proclaimed late Sunday as it unveiled a new update to its Xbox 360 software that enables Kinect-based voice controls for a variety of multimedia content. Repeatedly emphasizing voice controls as rumors of a Siri-enabled HDTV product from Apple that may launch this summer heat up, Microsoft announced a new wave of content set to hit its Xbox platform on Tuesday. A variety of on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and EPIX arrive on Xbox on December 6th, and nearly 30 more content sources including Verizon FiOS TV and Vudu will arrive later this month. “A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, in a statement. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.” Microsoft’s full press release follows below, preceded by an infographic outlining the evolution of TV and entertainment. More →

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Xbox sees biggest ever sales week thanks to hot holiday weekend

By on November 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM.

Xbox sees biggest ever sales week thanks to hot holiday weekend

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that last week marked the Xbox 360′s best ever week of sales. The company sold more than 960,000 Xbox 360 consoles and more than 750,000 Kinect controllers last week. Microsoft also confirmed that more than 800,000 of the consoles it sold last week were purchased on Black Friday alone. “We have seen tremendous excitement from customers for our hot holiday gaming offers,” said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of Home Entertainment at Best Buy, in a statement. “Xbox 360 was among the best-sellers at Best Buy this Black Friday, and is a testament to the continued popularity of the gaming category this holiday.” Microsoft’s full announcement follows below. More →

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Microsoft Kinect 2 may monitor emotions, read lips

By on November 28, 2011 at 5:10 PM.

Microsoft Kinect 2 may monitor emotions, read lips

Today you can use your Kinect to control a movie or play games using voice and gestures, but the device may soon be able to detect emotions and read lips as well. Reportedly, the next generation Kinect, presumably dubbed the Kinect 2, will be able to monitor a user’s mood by combining facial expressions with the volume and pitch of the user’s voice. Eyebrow and mouth movements are already supported through Microsoft’s Avatar Kinect software, but the technology is limited and is a fraction of what is possible. Eurogamer explained new Kinect hardware will be required because the current USB interface is too slow for the new emotion and lip sync capabilities. While Kinect currently serves as an Xbox 360 accessory, Microsoft has much bigger plans for the device. The firm recently added Windows 8 support to its Kinect development kit and full Windows 8 support is expected sometime next year. In addition, the Redmond-based company is reportedly working with partners on Kinect-enabled televisions that could go head-to-head with Apple’s rumored Siri-enabled HDTV. More →

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Microsoft Kinect-enabled TVs could go head-to-head with Apple’s rumored HDTV

By on November 24, 2011 at 5:00 PM.

Microsoft Kinect-enabled TVs could go head-to-head with Apple’s rumored HDTV

Microsoft’s Kinect motion and voice control system, currently available for the Xbox 360 and soon for Windows PCs, may soon be built into televisions. Microsoft is working on deals to license Kinect to TV makers Sony and Vizio, The Daily reported, noting that such technology could allow couch surfers to control their TVs with motion and voice. Currently, Xbox 360 Kinect owners are able to browse their Netflix queues and more by making gestures with their arms or using a number of voice commands. The Daily said Microsoft may be working to enable the system to recognize specific users, too, which would allow a TV to adjust various settings automatically in line with a user’s viewing habits. The technology could put TV vendors in a position where they are more prepared to combat the rumored Siri-controlled television Apple is said to be working on, but it is unclear when Microsoft’s partners might begin to release Kinect-enabled televisions.  More →

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Microsoft’s Kinect development kit now supports Windows 8

By on November 4, 2011 at 9:30 PM.

Microsoft’s Kinect development kit now supports Windows 8

Microsoft released its Kinect for Windows SDK Beta 2 on Friday that adds support for Windows 8, among other changes. According to ZDNET, Microsoft has two Kinect development kits. One software development kit for commercial usage will be available early next year. The second kit, released on Friday, is targeted at enthusiasts running Windows 7 or the developer build of Windows 8. “Developing Kinect enabled applications is essentially the same as developing other Windows applications, except that this SDK provides support for the features of the Kinect sensor,” Microsoft explained in a note accompanying the release. The SDK also adds support for 64-bit apps, improved accuracy and a number of enhancements to skeletal tracking. More →

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U.S. video game sales slide 23% in August

By on September 9, 2011 at 11:45 PM.

U.S. video game sales slide 23% in August

Sales of video game hardware, software and accessories in the United States continued to slide in August according to new data from NPD Group, again dipping more than 20% compared to the same period last year. Overall industry sales slid 23% to $669.9 million last month from $873.8 million in August 2010. Hardware sales were down 12% from last year to $249.4 million, accessory sales were down just 1% to $134.7 million and software sales plummeted 34% to $264.8 million. “August 2011 sales saw a decline versus August 2010 in all categories except for portable games hardware,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier in a statement. “In software, the bulk of the decline can be attributed to the shift of the annual Madden release from August to September (8/30 release falls within NPD’s September 2011 reporting period).” Frazier continued, “Even though year to date performance of the new physical portion of the industry is down 5%, more than half of industry sales in this channel are still to be realized in the back four months of the year.  Given the strong release schedule in the coming months, new physical retail sales could still be flat to slightly up once full year sales are tallied.” Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console for the seventh consecutive month in August with 308,000 units sold. NPD’s top-10 list of video game software title sales in the month of August follows below. More →

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New Steel Battalion Heavy Armor Kinect first-person shooter trailer unveiled [video]

By on August 19, 2011 at 1:01 AM.

New Steel Battalion Heavy Armor Kinect first-person shooter trailer unveiled [video]

During the Gamescom gaming conference this week, Capcom unleashed a new trailer for Steel Battalion Heavy Armor, the first first-person shooter game for its Xbox 360 console that will take advantage of the Kinect accessory and a standard gaming controller. Steel Battalion Heavy Armor was first announced during the Tokyo Game Show last year, but we haven’t heard much on the title since then. You’ll take the battlefield as a soldier in a 2082 war fighting with MechWarrior-style machines and cannons. According to Piki Geek, which got a hold of the official fact sheet, gamers will be able to use their Xbox 360 controller for moving their vehicles and firing weapons. Kinect movements will allow players to control scopes, other soldiers on the battlefield and “start up procedures.” Hit the jump for the official trailer. More →

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NPD: Gaming sales down 26% in July, Xbox 360 top U.S. console for seventh straight month

By on August 12, 2011 at 6:15 PM.

NPD: Gaming sales down 26% in July, Xbox 360 top U.S. console for seventh straight month

U.S. video game industry sales were down 26% in July compared to the same period last year according to new data published by The NPD Group. Hardware sales were down 29% year-over-year to $223 million, video game software sales dipped 17% to $336.2 million and sales of video game accessories were down 8% to $127.8 million. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive month with unit sales of 277,000, though July marked the first time the Xbox saw a year-on-year decline since December 2009. “There is no getting around the fact that video game sales in the new physical retail channel suffered its lowest month since October 2006,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “Despite the very rough month, new physical retail sales are down just 4% year-to-date and based on seasonality trends observed over the last 10 years, which have been remarkably stable year-in, year-out, industry sales in this particular channel are poised to land in the flat to -2% range once the total year is completed.” NPD’s top-10 list of video game software title sales in the month of July follows below. More →

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