Microsoft announces a $400 bundle for the Xbox 360, which pairs the game console with the Kinect motion controller and a game.
Technology giant Microsoft unveiled a bundled version of its Xbox
360 gaming console along with Kinect, the company's motion sensitive
sensor that allows users to play games and interact with the device
controller free. The Special Edition Xbox 360 250GB with Kinect, which
goes on sale Nov. 4, was announced at the Tokyo Game Show. The package
includes the Xbox 360 250GB console, a Kinect sensor and the game
"Kinect Adventures" for $399.99.
The console boasts 802.11n built-in Wi-Fi, an internal removable 250GB
hard drive and touch sensitive controls. The company said more than 15
games are launching with Kinect, including a variety of sports games as
well as health and fitness games similar to the ones offered by
Nintendo for its motion sensitive Wii console.
The Kinect sensor plugs directly into the Xbox 360 console and contains
a camera, audio sensors and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48
points of movement on the human body. Microsoft described Kinect as
able to perform full-motion tracking of the human body at 30 frames per
second, regardless of what the user is wearing or what objects surround
the user in the home environment.
In July, the company announced the Xbox 360 4GB console and the Kinect
sensor and "Kinect Adventures" packaged together for $299.99. The
bundle, which went on sale Aug. 3, also featured the game "Kinect
Adventures". The Xbox 360 4GB includes built-in WiFi N, 4GB of
internal flash memory, touch-sensitive buttons and a black matte finish.
While Microsoft is pitching the Kinect experience as the future of home
entertainment, the company is also playing catch-up with Nintendo; the
motion-sensitive Wii has been hugely influential not just in how gamers
play, but the very definition of who a potential gamer is. The third
major player in the console wars, Sony, is also moving forward with a
motion-sensitive component of its PlayStation 3 (PS3) console. The Move
is an upcoming motion-sensing game controller platform formerly called
the PlayStation Motion Controller, which acts like a cross between
Nintendo's Wiimote and Sony's PlayStation Eye Webcam.
At the E3 video game conference in June, Nintendo and Sony's computer
entertainment division rolled out technologies aimed at pushing the
boundaries of 3D gaming and motion-sensitive gaming experiences.
Nintendo announced a list of upcoming games for Nintendo 3DS, a
portable console Nintendo claimed lets users view games in 3D without
the need for special glasses, while Sony announced it would release the
Move motion controller for the PS3 on Sept. 19 in the United States.
The efforts of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to invigorate hardware
sales, software sales and accessory sales-in the face of competing
entertainments such as 3D television-comes at a time when the video
game industry has been struggling for months. Despite a 12-percent
surge in hardware sales in July, led by the Xbox 360's strong
performace (443,500 units sold), the industry trended downward again,
off one percent from the same period in 2009 and down eight percent
year-to-date, to $7.5 billion, compared with $8.2 billion in July
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.