Windows developers around the world had cause for excitement Thursday afternoon as Microsoft finally released a beta version of its Kinect for Windows software development kit. As the name might imply, this new SDK will allow developers to build Windows software that makes use of Microsoft’s popular motion-based controller as a peripheral. The SDK obviously opens the door for Kinect-controlled Windows PC games, but we’re sure Windows developers will find plenty of creative ways to make use of the great technology. Developers can download the SDK beta immediately via the read link below. More →
During Microsoft’s E3 2011 press conference on monday, Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, confirmed that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect motion controller will support EA Sports games in 2012. The initial titles compatible with the Kinect controller will be Madden, FIFA, Tiger Woods and a fourth title that has not yet been named. Now we’ll all be able to throw hail mary touchdown passes in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl from the comfort of our living rooms!
During Microsoft’s press conference at E3 in Los Angeles on Monday, Casey Hudson, the project lead for Mass Effect 3, announced that the game would be available on store shelves sometime in March 2012. Ray Muzyka, BioWare’s chief executive officer, also said that the Mass Effect 3 will take advantage of Microsoft’s Kinect controller, and gave a brief demo of how it will work, showing how gamers will even be able to use their voices to direct squad members. The BGR team is here in Los Angeles, so be we’ll be sure to bring hands-on impressions of the game as soon as we can.
During the Microsoft press conference at E3 in Los Angeles on Monday, Microsoft showed off a quick sneak-peak of Halo 4, a new trilogy that will begin when the title launches during the holiday season of 2012. Microsoft didn’t discuss much else about the game, but it did also announce that Xbox 360 owners will soon be able to get their hands on Kinect Sports Season 2, which will include golf, baseball, skiing, tennis, and football. Kinect Sports Season 2 is expected to land in time for the holiday season this year.
Looks like the weekend’s going to start a bit early. Hulu’s subscription-based Hulu Plus service will launch for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on Friday, and here’s the best part: it’s free for Xbox Live (Gold and Silver) users until May 6th. After that you’ll have to drop $7.99 per month to kick back and watch your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and others. Hulu’s even adding Kinect support, which means you’ll be able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind whatever you’re watching with your voice or with a gesture. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to Kotaku, neither Microsoft nor Sony will launch new gaming consoles before 2014. “Both [Microsoft] and Sony are telegraphing to each other that they’re delaying, to milk the current [generation] and fill in previous craters better,” one source told Kotaku. By contrast, Nintendo’s next generation gaming console is expected to land sometime next year. Microsoft and Sony may decide to build onto the current systems, however; for example, Microsoft may release a “Kinect-upgraded” Xbox 360 in 2013. “Sony definitely isn’t launching a successor before 2014 and could stand to benefit by having Microsoft launch first as PS3 builds in North America and builds a strong position in Europe,” said Billy Pidgeon, an analyst with M2 Research. Microsoft has gone on the record saying that it will offer support for the Xbox 360 through 2015, but we’re curious how it will hold consumer interest in a system that made its debut in 2005. More →
Today Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb, also known as Major Nelson, announced that Microsoft has added Netflix support to the Xbox 360 Kinect accessory. Using Kinect, you’ll be able to browse your Netflix queue by waving your hands or speaking out loud, which means you won’t have to go searching for your Xbox 360 controller just to watch a movie. Controls include the ability browse, play, pause, fast forward and rewind, and you can perform any of those actions using your voice or gestures. Hyrb said the update is available now and that Kinect users should expect to be prompted to apply the patch the next time they launch Netflix. More →
There is quite a bit of Internet showmanship that takes place every year on April 1st. Tech companies and blogs — present company excluded — try and swindle users and readers into believing, if only for a moment, that a new, slightly outlandish product or feature is on the way. Google is a frequent offender on April Fool’s Day, and last week the company’s homepage was waxing poetic about its Google Motion service. The faux feature was said to allow users to control Gmail using their computer’s built-in camera and body movements. One week later, University of Southern California scientists, aided by a Microsoft Kinect, have turned the prank into a reality. Leveraging movement tracking software already in the works, the school’s Institute for Creative Technologies demonstrates in a video exactly how Google Motion could work. It’s humorous, interesting, and funny, all at the same time. The video is awaiting your scrutiny after the break. More →
Strong demand in the U.S. means strong revenue in Taiwan, and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., parent company of notorious manufacturer Foxconn, saw revenue continue to climb in February. Hon Hai pulled in NT$152.9 billion (almost $5.2 billion) in the shortest month of the year, Taiwan Economic News reports, up 25.9% over the same month in 2010. Over the first two months of 2011, Hon Hai’s revenues sit at NT$339.1 billion ($11.5 billion), a 31.5% increase over January and February 2010. Growth has slowed, however, as outlined in an earlier report. The company is continuing to increase revenues despite skyrocketing labor and material costs, however, and the growth is attributed to high demand for popular gadgets like Apple’s iPad 2 — which is currently sold out across the country — as well as the original iPad and Microsoft’s motion-based Xbox 360 controller, the Kinect. Sales of the Microsoft Kinect sensor recently passed the 10 million mark, making it the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time. More →
The U.S. retail video games market grew 3% in February, up from the same time period last year, to $1.36 billion, according to new figures from NPD Group. Video game hardware sales were up 10%, but software revenue fell 5% during the month. Microsoft’s Kinect controller for the Xbox 360, which Microsoft recently said passed 10 million unit sales, helped drive the 22% jump in sales of video game accessories. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console rocked the top sales spot in the console market, with 535,000 consoles sold in February. Nintendo sold 454,000 Wii units, and Sony has not yet disclosed sales figures for the PlayStation 3. More →
The milestones just keep on toppling… Microsoft on Wednesday announced that its popular Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360 has sold 10 million units since its launch ahead of the 2010 holiday season. On top of accessory sales, Microsoft has also sold 10 million stand-alone Kinect games. The company announced its first Kinect sales milestone — 2.5 million units — just after Black Friday, and it sold over 8 million Kinect units in its first 60 days of availability. And now… the 10 million-unit milestone has been achieved. The numbers are beyond impressive, of course, but they’re also world records as it turns out. Guinness World Records has decreed that the Kinect now holds the title of “Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.” Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Industry watcher NPD Group says sales of video game software in the U.S. declined by 5% year-over-year in January 2011, totaling $576 million. Console sales were down 8% to $324 million. On the back of continued strong sales of the Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move motion-based controllers, sales of video games accessories increased 6% year-over-year to $235 million. The only console to see growth in January was Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which sold 381,000 units — a 14.1% increase year-over-year. NPD ranked January’s software title sales as follows:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) – Xbox 360, PS3, Wi, DS, PC
- Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) – Wii
- Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC
- Little Big Planet 2 (Sony) – PS3
- Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) – Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
- NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive) – Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) – Xbox 360, PS3
- Dance Central (MTV Games) – Xbox 360
- Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) – Wii, DS, PSP
- DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony) – PS3, PC
Overall, the U.S. gaming industry took in $1.14 billion excluding PC sales — a 4% slide versus the same month in 2010.
Sony Ericsson’s just-announced Xperia Play is set to bring an amazing gaming experience to Android fans around the world, but mobile gamers might want to think twice before signing those two-year contracts. In fact, we hope you’re sitting down, gaming fans, because Microsoft on Monday demonstrated some pretty impressive forthcoming Windows Phone 7 features at Mobile World Congress. The demo, which is just the tip of the iceberg, shows us what might happen when Windows Phone 7 meets Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the ever popular Kinect motion-based controller. The results, though exhausting, look pretty amazing. Hit the jump for Microsoft’s demo video and while it definitely looks awesome, don’t get too excited just yet — Microsoft notes that this is just a technology demo and gives no real indication of when we might see integration of this caliber. More →