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Tuesday, 07 June 2011 09:28

Microsoft press conference all about Kinect

Written by David Stellmack
microsoft

Halo 4 confirmed, first installment arrives in 2012
We suspect that many gamers will be more than a little unhappy with the news that came out of the Microsoft press conference, unless you happen to be a Kinect enthusiast. For those who have been waiting for the avalanche of real titles to arrive for Kinect, you will not have to wait much longer, because they are coming.

In addition, Microsoft announced another “New Xbox Experience,” or another major overhaul of the dashboard user interface. The focus of this dashboard update will naturally be focused on.…Yes, you guessed it Kinect. The new dashboard enhances the navigation abilities for Kinect and it features a much cleaner look using some of the “tile” technology that we have seen in the Windows 7 Phone OS; it actually looks to work pretty well, as it does a good job at presenting a lot of information while at the same time maintaining an uncluttered look.

No official release date was announced, but it is suspected that it will arrive in late summer or early fall. We think that Microsoft will want to get this out as soon as possible, as they are looking to unify the Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 “tile” or “box” concept as soon as possible.

As for additional announcements, we scored with what we told you yesterday about all of those titles being announced. In addition, Ryse is being developed by Crytek and will be Kinect-enabled, and if that sounds strange, look for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, FIFA 12, Madden 12, and Mass Effect 3 among the titles that will offer at least some Kinect support. In fact, Ubisoft announced that going forward all of its Xbox 360 titles would offer at least some Kinect support. It could be as little as voice recognition support to as much as full Kinect motion scanning support, depending on the title and what it calls for. It is looking that going forward, even those who don’t want a Kinect might be forced to consider purchasing one.

Microsoft also announced that Mindcraft was coming to the Xbox 360. No timetable for release was announced, however. The Summer of Arcade will be back this year, featuring: From Dust, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Bastion, Toy Soldiers: Cold War, and Fruit Ninja for Kinect. (Yes, this is the same Fruit Ninja that graced the Windows Phone 7.) A new Disneyland title was shown for Kinect that was very well done. The new footage of Forza 4 was amazing, and the game adds more of everything, which Forza fans will enjoy.

Beyond all of this, we saw CliffyB and Ice-T play Gears of War 3; and Microsoft finally officially confirmed that rumors we have all been hearing for so long that an HD Remake of the first Halo title for the original Xbox is coming later this year with online multiplayer. Microsoft also officially announced Halo 4, which will be a new trilogy, with Halo 4 arriving in 2012.

Actually, given all of the content, it still seemed very Kinect-focused, which as we said is going to make some Xbox 360 owners unhappy. It would be easy to say that this is the way of the world and you need to get used to it, but that is hard to say about a console that typically has a very hardcore gamer following. Overall, we are not going to say that it was disappointing, but we tend to think it will be overshadowed by both Sony and Nintendo because they are both launching hardware.


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