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XBox (Games) E3 Input Devices Microsoft Games

Microsoft Unveils Smaller Xbox 360 Model, Kinect Details 277

E3 kicked off today, and Microsoft took advantage of its early keynote presentation to show off a ton of new games and features for the Xbox 360. The biggest news for the very near future is that they're releasing a smaller, revamped version of the console, with immediate availability. It's black, it comes with a 250GB HDD and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi support, and it's priced at $299. Microsoft also put a release date on Kinect, the motion control scheme formerly known as Project Natal: November 4 in the US. It will launch with 15 games, mostly casual-oriented, several of which were demonstrated on-stage. Many new Kinect features were shown as well, such as the dashboard interface, video chat (with support for playing movies both parties can watch), and a partnership with ESPN to provide live and on-demand sports, all controllable with hand gestures and voice commands. (It presently includes college football and basketball, soccer, the NBA, and MLB.) Also notable is a partnership with LucasArts for a Kinect Star Wars game, a fitness game from Ubisoft, and a Forza racing game that uses Kinect and allows players to inspect the cars with an impressive level of detail. Engadget's liveblog of the event has a bunch of pictures from the demonstrations, or you can read a more detailed play-by-play at Ars.
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Microsoft Unveils Smaller Xbox 360 Model, Kinect Details

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  • Where is Valve's big surprise?

  • ESPN (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tweek ( 18111 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:22PM (#32570100) Homepage Journal

    Kinect is exciting and I'll get it but the biggest announcement had to be the ESPN agreement. That's a cable killer right there depending on how blackout/regional rules apply.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      the biggest announcement had to be the ESPN agreement.

      It doesn't include NHL support (at least, they didn't mention it during the keynote.) It's useless -_-;;

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jittles ( 1613415 )
        That's because those jackass*s at ESPN don't cover hockey. It's a sad world. :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Kinect is exciting and I'll get it but the biggest announcement had to be the ESPN agreement. That's a cable killer right there depending on how blackout/regional rules apply.

      I got bad news for you, it appears that the service is still dependent on ESPN having an agreement with your current ISP in place too. Not an ESPN friendly ISP account holder and no others available? Too bad for you.

      • by cgenman ( 325138 )

        Can you post a link to where it says that in detail? Having data dependent upon the ISP for a feature on a console seems like a very convoluted chain, likely to enrage a lot of people (and ISP's).

        • I haven't seen a link that supports that, but it jibes with the way that ESPN has been offering events on the internet: only through approved ISPs. For example, to watch the World Cup live on ESPN.com, you need to enter the account information for an ISP with which ESPN has a deal. If you have the big ones (ATT, Comcast, etc), you're golden. If not, say goodbye to watching the World Cup on ESPN.com. The same deal was in place for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

          Honestly, I hope that this practice dies a sudde

          • Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable happens to be a huge provider in this country and ESPN doesn't have an agreement with them... Unfortunately for me, I only have Internet, no Cable TV. I would even pay for the service for ESPN! Oh well.

        • Isn't that how ESPN 360 works? They figure that rather than market to 100,000 people to give them $10/month, they just market to the ISP to give them $900,000, and have much less overhead. Some ISP's love it, since it differentiates them from the competition. I would love ESPN360, since I live in the midwest now, and I don't get to see my glorious Ducks rule the Pac 10 (or is that Pac11) every Saturday this fall. I have no ISP in my area that has ESPN360. I would gladly pay for the service, but its not

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            > since I live in the midwest now, and I don't get to see my glorious Ducks rule the Pac 10

            Maybe you can watch Masoli play at Kansas City Community College.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Can you post a link to where it says that in detail? Having data dependent upon the ISP for a feature on a console seems like a very convoluted chain, likely to enrage a lot of people (and ISP's).

          Sorry it took a while, here is the link http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/14/espn3-comes-exclusively-to-xbox-360/ [engadget.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Kinect is exciting ...

      Kinect is exciting ? Speak for yourself. The novelty of motion control quickly wore off for me after a couple of days of Wii bowling. When I get a chance to play video games, I usually want to relax and I can't do that when I am forced to constantly contort my arms and fling a controller all over the place. I don't think I am alone in this. It's especially tedious when the desired action could more easily be accommodated through existing controls or when it's totally superfluous to the story. I couldn't get

  • It's awesome that they will have Wireless N built in, and I like the fact that the cooling has been changed around...but apparently the current external hard drives won't be compatible with it, and neither will memory cards.

    How are we to transfer saved games and content? USB key and redownload arcade titles?

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        That's all fine and well, except the new revision won't be compatible with external hard drives. Sooo...yeah.

        • Re:nice...mostly (Score:4, Informative)

          by kjart ( 941720 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:58PM (#32570710)

          That's all fine and well, except the new revision won't be compatible with external hard drives. Sooo...yeah.

          Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can just transfer your profile, saved games, arcade games to a regular old USB flash drive and then transfer all that stuff to a new console.

        • by ProppaT ( 557551 )

          I believe the way the transfer kit works is that you take the old hard drive and connect it to the dongle, plug the new hard drive into the console, then connect the usb cable coming from the dongle to the Xbox. There shouldn't be any concerns about this.

          And the new Xbox will support external hard drives/usb drives exactly like the current one does. If you meant it won't support the old style xbox "external" hard drive, you're correct...but that's not an issue due to the transfer cable and/or external mem

    • by Tridus ( 79566 )

      In the last 360 software update, they added USB thumb drive support. You can copy games/saves/profiles over to that, and copy them to the new console. (You can also copy it between 360s right now doing that, I did it a few days ago when visiting a friend.)

  • Let's not turn the Xbox360 into the next Wii.... Hopefully developers don't feel a pressure of hype that forces them to try and squeeze motion control into games just to have that 'compatible with Kintec' label.
  • "Custom kinect port" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:30PM (#32570248) Homepage

    Custom kinect port = it uses some proprietary connector so you won't be able to use it with anything else, will it even be possible to connect it to an original 360?

    • They said it will be. Which means its probably USB (There is one on the back of the 360) but it has a component to detect if its an X-box or not.

      It will be hacked to work with a PC within a week, don't worry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zaffir ( 546764 )

      Yes. It'll connect to any 360. However, the custom port on the new XBox will also provide power to the Kinect, so that you don't have to have a separate power adapter for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tordre ( 1447083 )

      The game trailer post show had that grey shirt guy on and stated the extra port is just for power, you can use it with an old xbox but you will need to plug it in to the wall separately.

    • I'm guessing that it's a combination data and enhanced power connector that will be used for a single connection on the new units.

      The Kinect camera bar will probably need two cables for operating on older 360 units; a USB connection to the console and an external power adapter. I'm guessing that the external power adapter will be shipping with kits but bundled systems will not include it.

      I am happy to see more USB ports on the console especially since they are now being used for external memory.

  • I'm not a big XBL player but one thing I notice is how laggy a lot of gamers already are given a wired connection.

    Will Wireless N make this better, worse or the same? Is this a big selling point for people?

    • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      If you are lagging out when using a wired connection, that's a problem with your internet connection/router. I'm currently running my 360 through a modified WRT54G that has the DD-WRT firmware on it running as a bridge, and I still get hardly any lag on Live.

      Wireless N will make a huge difference for those of us on wireless connections. Folks using wired connections wouldn't notice much difference. If you are still getting lag and are wired using Ethernet, make sure your router is set up properly (ports,

      • My connection is fine, about every fourth challenger I match with in Super Street Fighter IV appears to be connecting to XBL via tin can and string.

        Sure, I can filter connection quality on most XBL titles but will Wireless N create even more high-ping laggers? If so, what's the attraction? One less cable in the jungle behind the TV?

      • It's also dependent on the games method of networking, P2P style is all the rage as it cuts down on the amount of dedicated servers required but performance penalties tend to apply.
      • by cgenman ( 325138 )

        Lag can also come from other people's networks. People connecting over Microsoft's wireless G dongle are notorious for lagging out everyone's online experiences.

        Even N, though, adds a minimum extra 10ms of lag. It has great throughput and cleaner signals, but too much wireless noise and running toasters / etc can still kill your transfer. For serious gaming, unless your airspace is relatively clean, wired is still the way to go. With the way wireless networks for home are currently setup, they will alwa

    • It'll be the same.

      Wireless runs at about 54 Megs, if I recall correctly. N might be more (I think 300?).

      Either way, your ISP is not giving you those speeds, unless you are paying for a commercial business line.

      Essentially you are only as fast as the slowest part in the chain, which is in 99% of cases, your Internet service provider.

    • I'm not a big XBL player but one thing I notice is how laggy a lot of gamers already are given a wired connection.

      Really? Outside of the first few days after a new game was released (like with Red Dead Revolver), I can't even count on 1 hand the times I've lagged or had others lag out of a game.

    • I used my xbox both wired, and wireless with the router 2 stories above the Xbox (in the basement of course! =P ). The only difference I noticed between the two has been dropped connections. Sometimes Wireless just likes to drop machines which is aggravating. But as far as lag while playing CoD 4 and MW2 I didn't notice a whole lot of difference. There might have been a slight decrease in me getting shot when I thought I was already around a corner, but that might have just been me slowly getting better

    • considering most gaming happens over the internet, the bottleneck is your broadband, not your LAN. also, considering latency is a bigger factor in most games, you probably won't see a difference.

      that being said, if it didn't ship with N people would be screaming. N is standard on any new device these days.

    • LANs do not have a significant amount of latency compared to an Internet connection. While wireless does have a bit more latency than wired, you are talking differences in microseconds. If you have DSL or cable, your very first hop probably has a latency in the 10-40 millisecond range.

      So if you've got lag, it is a net issue, not a LAN issue.

  • Who couldn't use more RAM?
    • Who couldn't use more RAM?

      And switch out the dvd for a blueray player.

      • While totally hilarious, they REALLY should.
        Sony does not solely OWN the right to deny a manufaturer from using blu-ray format in their devices and HD-DVD is dead. Now, MS would have to pay licencing fee, of which their direct competitor would benefit, but that would definitely be the final straw to get me to purchase a gaming console. I believe more "casual" gamers are currently going with PS3 because of blu-ray too.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      512M should be enough for anybody.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      Consoles are fixed platforms. You can't upgrade the internals of a console that way, because games expect that fixed platform. Doubling RAM would simply mean that game developers would have to decide between playing on all consoles (with less RAM), or just playing on the new ones (with more RAM). It's not like a computer internally, that is abstracted enough to deal with upgraded components dynamically.

      This is why consoles upgrade with more reliable, quieter, and cheaper hardware. But they almost never

    • Yup, because developers don't develop on consoles because the specs are fixed.

      Oh wait, yes they do!

  • What assurances can we have that this new slim 360 isn't going to be subject to the same quality problems the original 360 had? If I buy now, can I reasonably expect my 360 to be functioning in 5 years? 10?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      The primary cause of the old RRoD problem was excessive heat. The Falcon revision released a few years ago made great strides in reducing red rings, and the Jasper revision that came out about a year ago all but eliminated the red ring issue.

      Considering this new version has better cooling and is based on 45 nm production, it will generate even less heat than the Jaspers. The chances of it having the same problems are practically nonexistent.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        the Jasper revision that came out about a year ago all but eliminated the red ring issue.

        I'm not sure I believe that. I've certainly heard a few of complaints about RROD on Jasper consoles. Of course, the people with problems are going to be the loudest, so it's hard to say. If they're still using lead free solder, I'm still skeptical that these things are going to be useful more than a couple years out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Pojut ( 1027544 )

          Speaking from personal experience, my Jasper revision 360 sits in an enclosed space next to my PS3 Slim (inside my entertainment center, behind a glass door that stays closed unless we're changing discs.) I haven't had a single problem with it, and it gets at least 2-4 hours of use a day, either through gaming or Netflix. I've had my Jasper for a little under 9 months at this point, sitting in that enclosed space. ::shrug::

          • Re:Reliable? (Score:4, Informative)

            by adbge ( 1693228 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:17PM (#32571020)
            On one hand, I own a release model 360 that is still running fine and has yet to RROD on me. Admittedly, I don't use the console nearly as much as hardcore gamers (or even casual ones, for that matter), but I don't typically take any special precautions with it other than keeping it in an open area and not leaving it on top of carpet.

            I also have a part time job fixing 360s and, in my experience, the failure rate on the newer models is still significant. Probably not as high as the originals, but I wouldn't go pushing my luck by keeping the newer models in enclosed spaces. For every Wii or PS3 we get in, we get about 4-5 360s.
      • Re:Reliable? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:59PM (#32570736)

        Do you consider sounding like a small jet turbine to be a problem?

        I do.

        I'm wondering if that problem has gone away yet.

      • Technically, the cause of the RRoD wasn't excessive heat. The problem was the Xbox360 design didn't effectively dissipate the heat. And heat was one of the problems; there were scratched discs and video problems. But the OP has a point; there are no assurances that MS hasn't introduced other design mistakes with this new console. Hopefully MS has more experience than before.
  • No blu-ray (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 )

    No blu-ray, no new features, smaller, and positioned as a must-buy?

    Gee, where have I seen this before? [wikipedia.org] I know I have seen similar restylings [old-computers.com] that offered no real improvement.

    Where is Blu-ray? I know, Ballmer, offering blu-ray would be admitting you were wrong, but getting Windows 7 out so quickly after the monstrosity known as "Vista" is a pretty loud admission that you do fuck up now and then. You're only compounding it by not embracing blu-ray while the rest of the world already has.

    I'll admit, I do want

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 )

      Call me crazy but I'd say built in wireless N, smaller form, and quieter (claimed) cooling/running are new features especially when it's being sold at the same price even though you don't have to buy some wireless adapter for ~$60 (for MS's version?).

      I also don't think it's positioned as a must buy for current owners so much as, if you're going to buy a new 360 to get into console gaming or replace and old one you'll want to get this one.

    • by e2d2 ( 115622 )

      I think that comes down to price point. I'm of the belief that they cannot out a BR drive in and still make any money, which is slim as it is. Sony can use their own manufacturing line and produce Blu-Ray drives themselves. That's my theory anyway.

      Honestly if the 360 had a Blu-Ray drive I doubt I'd have considered the PS3. I ended up with both machines but I could slim down to one easily given not many titles are platform-exclusive anymore.

    • You want a console with a Blu-Ray drive, built-in WiFi, and 250GB drive from a large company that has shady business products?

      Here you go [amazon.com]!

    • by cybrthng ( 22291 )

      Stand alone blu-ray players can be had for 100 bucks, no need to use an Xbox for that anymore.. Not to mention i hope blu-ray is shortlived and download/streaming media continues to improve a-la netflix so on and so forth. XBL with zune mp 1080p with 5.1 is amazingly good and can only get better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBCook ( 132727 )

      Does Blu-Ray matter at this point?

      I don't like using my consoles for other things. I used my PS2 as a DVD player for years, but it wasn't as nice as a real DVD player, interface wise. I've used my PS3 once or twice as a Blu-Ray player, but the interface isn't as nice as a stand alone device.

      The big reason the PS3 having Blu-Ray was so great was because the console cost $500 or $600, and a Blu-Ray player cost $400 to $700. It was like buying the Blu-Ray player and getting a console for free. The PS3 also s

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kimvette ( 919543 )

        Does Blu-Ray matter at this point?

        Do you really want a blu-ray player, AND an HTPC, AND an Xbox 360, etc. cluttering up your living room (or in the case of some slashdotters, mom's basement ;))? I for one, do not. I do like components for my stereo system, but when it comes to blu-ray, HTPC, and gaming consoles - those are all tasks well suited for a single device.

        So yes, Blu-ray would be a valuable feature at this juncture.

        I'm sorry, I can't picture current Xbox 360 owners lining up to buy new consoles

      • I just had a new roommate move in and he has a PS3, so I finally got to see one. Having seen it play Blu-rays, I have to say I'm not impressed. The interface is not nearly as nice as my LG Blu-ray player. Also my remote can't control it, I'd need to buy an adapter since the PS3 speaks Bluetooth and all the other devices speak IR. Also while the PS3 can handle online things like Netflix, you have to put in a special DVD for it. My Blu-ray player has them built in, and apparently can get more via updates (a n

        • by MBCook ( 132727 )

          The Netflix DVD thing is because of a special deal MS has with Netflix for exclusivity. It will expire in a year or so. That's why the 360 doesn't need a disc, but the Wii and PS3 do.

          It's an OK Blu-Ray player. It supports the full latest spec, and has enough power to be upgraded to future specs, which is a plus. The interface is better than the old PS2 DVD interface, but not by much. My guess is it wouldn't be that bad if I shelled out for the remote control.

          But Blu-Ray isn't compelling enough for me to s

      • Re:No blu-ray (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @06:31PM (#32572070) Journal

        Does Blu-Ray matter at this point?

        Actually, yes, it does. Two of my (non-geek) friends are looking at buying PS3 specifically because of BluRay support - and said that otherwise they would have probably taken Xbox.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MHolmesIV ( 253236 )

      As opposed to the PS3 Slim, which actively removed features, you mean?

    • If someone wants blu-ray movies, they almost certainly already have a dedicated blu-ray player or a PS3, so adding the functionality to the XBox360 is unlikely to entice them.

      If you want more space for games, then it's no longer an XBox 360 as older models won't be able to play newer games.

      Sure, some people, like yourself, would like blu-ray support on the XBox 360. But is it enough to justify the additional price? I doubt it, and apparently Microsoft agrees.

    • by kjart ( 941720 )

      I'll admit, I do want an XBox 360, and while it's nice the power supply, wifi, and HDD are all now internal, what I am waiting on is blu-ray. I want it more as a media extender/STB more than anything else, primarily for Hulu and Netflix, and possibly for Rockband 3 once the "real" keyboard comes out.

      You want it primarily for Hulu and Netflix, but Blu-ray is a deal breaker? I actually don't really blame them for not having it. The direction is clearly heading more into streaming for media - despite having a ps3 (and a 360), I don't own and have never rented a Blu-ray disc, and don't see that changing anytime soon.

  • This smaller console should have been released 2 or 3 years ago, it would have helped with the problems of reliability if it runs cooler. This is nearly a five year old console now, consoles have a 5-6 year lifespan typically.

    The next gen model should have been announced.

    • I imagine they want this one to last longer than has been the norm. They make more money from games and upgrades than the actual console. They haven't got much of an incentive to replace it now that they've finally got a design that won't fail in under a year.
  • Kinect demo faked (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:34PM (#32571260) Homepage

    I'll admit, I was really impressed with the linked video. Until I watched it again and realized that it's faked. The person "controlling" the action isn't quite in sync with what's on screen. Sometimes the actor is slightly ahead of the "game" (could be lag, I thought) and other times isn't keeping up with what's on screen.

    Even the linked video comments that the video is likely a scripted demo. But I'm not convinced it's real yet. (I'm sure it works, but clearly not ready for prime-time, nor even E3.)

    • Re:Kinect demo faked (Score:5, Informative)

      by fcrick ( 465682 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:41PM (#32574516) Journal

      I also work at M$ (contractor!) but not on Kinect and those demos were definitely legit. My office happens happens to be near where it's worked on, and I've playtested it briefly on several occasions. I think today's demo and the hype doesn't nearly do the platform justice - I've already gone to GameStop to (try to) pre-order...it's frikkin' amazing.

      If you watch the video carefully, you'll notice there are are essentially two types of use of the platform:

      1. Most games seem to have a delay between when you move and when that movement shows up on screen. These games are either ones where you notice something you have to react to, you react, and then you see something happen after a delay, or ones where you sorta 'pre-act' moves you know are coming. If you watch the video where they are avoiding things on the track, you can see them move their bodies early, anticipating that the game won't get the move in time if they jump in time with what they see.

      2. The dance game seemed to do a kind of post-analysis to see if what you did is correct - I think this is very similar to existing singing games out there - you calibrate it so you can sing with the music as you hear it, but the scoring mechanism doesn't come back with how well you're doing as fast as you're doing it. I'm pretty sure they must be doing the same thing here - you dance to what you see, and the scoring chimes in a moment later with "yup, that last move was great" or whatever. If you look on the right side you can see the upcoming moves - that's how you know what to do next - also you can see yourself moving on the right in a small box - i think if you look there you'll see yourself delayed.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."