Today at their E3 press conference Microsoft finally revealed the much rumored Xbox Slim, which has been simply dubbed The New Xbox 360.
This new system is shipping to stores today and will be available later this week. Along with the sleek new design the console will have an 250 gig hard drive, built-wifi and a few fun new things on the back, like an HDMI port, TOSLINK out port and a Kensington lock.. It will cost the same as the current elite- $299. The hard drive will be internal this time (though still removable) and the system’s supposed to be whisper quiet. Let’s see how many of them melt down on us.
There wasn’t really much in the way of other big news. ESPN signed a deal with them to offer games on demand (MLB, NBA, etc.) and it will be free to Gold members, so thats good if you follow sports and don’t have cable, I suppose. Their focus this year is clearly on Project Natal, which has received an official name- Kinect. It will be released on November 4th, 2010 with a likely price tag of $150, although it hasn’t officially been announced. There will be numreous games available for it, as well as a new dashboard that responds to your voice and movements to navigate. Here’s a list of the games confirmed so far… nothing too terribly exciting (or anything we haven’t done on the Wii before) but the Star Wars one has potential, at least.
“Kinect Adventures” (Microsoft Game Studios). Float in outer space. Experience the thrill of roaring rapids. Tackle mountaintop obstacle courses. And dive into the deep to explore a leaky underwater observatory — all from your living room. With “Kinect Adventures,” you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations.
“Kinectimals” (Frontier Studio, Microsoft Game Studios). A wide-eyed Bengal Tiger cub cocks its head to the side and playfully peers at you. Memories of your first trip to the zoo come rushing back. “Kinectimals” invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Just like real pets, your “Kinectimals” will come running when they hear your voice, respond to commands like “jump,” “roll-over” and “play dead,” and purr with joy when you scratch them behind the ears.
“Kinect Joy Ride” (Big Park, Microsoft Game Studios). 3 … 2 … 1 … Go! “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game, will take you and your friends on the ride of your lives — no drivers license required. “Kinect Joy Ride” reinvents driving and Kart racing by adding massive jumps and full body stunts to the classic Kart racing action. With a host of cool features and game modes you can take off for the ride of your life by yourself, pick up a co-pilot or team up with your friends and family to take on the world.
“Kinect Sports” (Rare, Microsoft Game Studios). Turn your living room into a world-class stadium, bowling alley, soccer pitch or arena. With “Kinect Sports” you’re not only the star player, you are the controller — through the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360. See a ball? Kick it. Spike it. Even give it a little top spin. “Kinect Sports” features soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, boxing and multiple track and field events.
“Dance Central” (MTV Games). “Dance Central”™ is the first full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. Featuring full-body tracking, the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360 allows you to experience real dance with your friends and family. Whether you’re rehearsing in Break It Down! or owning the stage in Perform It, you’ll be introduced to more than 600 moves in the game and more than 90 dance routines all created by professional choreographers. The game features tracks from an amazing mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B artists including Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and more. Take your moves to the next level while connecting with the music you love!
“Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” (Ubisoft). Get the most out of Kinect with “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.” Unlike other games, the proprietary Player Projection technology of “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” puts your body into the game for the ultimate experience. You’ll physically interact with virtual environments in ways you’ve never seen before, and you’ll be captivated by unique and exciting visual effects that respond to your movement and impact. Burn calories your way — choose a personal trainer to help you meet your specific fitness goals, take a yoga or martial arts class, or play fun family-friendly minigames. As you exercise, you’ll receive specific feedback on your every move, thanks to the game’s real-time precise tracking system. You won’t notice how hard you’re working until you see the results!
There is also an untitled Star Wars game in the work that will allow you to use Jedi motions (can you say Force Push?) to take down your foes. It will be released sometime next year.
(Side note- I’m going to be attending a press day for Kinect in a few weeks and will have impressions (and hopefully- embarassing video) to share with you.)
Some good news for fans of the Xbox Live Arcade is that they’re bringing their much-loved “Summer of Arcade” back, a string of hopefully AAA titles. Starting in July, expect to see Castlevania Harmony of Despair (Konami Digital Entertainment), Hydro Thunder Hurricane (Microsoft), Lara Croft and the Guardian of the Light (Square Enix), Limbo (Microsoft) and Monday Night Combat (Microsoft).
Castlevania Harmony of Despair is the long-rumored six player 2D Castlevania game, although no details have been officially announced. That new Tomb Raider game is actually an isometric game that was made for co-op adventuring with a buddy.
As far as retail games, almost every one has already been announced and talked about at last year’s conference – Call of Duty: Black Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Gears of War 3, Fable III and Halo: Reach. In fact, the only new game announced this year was Codename: Kingdoms, a new title from Crytek (Crysis)- check the trailer below.
So thus begins the start of this year’s E3, one that clearly will not have a lot of surprises up its sleeve. What do you guys think- is this lineup of titles enough, or were you hoping for more? Is Kinect new and exciting or just Microsoft trying to cash in on the casual market?