It seems like every few weeks Microsoft thumps its chest over how many Kinect motion control cameras it's sold, and now we're being told that number is 10 million. If there was any remaining doubt that Kinect sales have been an "overwhelming success," as Microsoft put it, the rapid rise to double digit sales earned kudos from the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. So much for the naysayers.
Microsoft may be looking for help developing a successor to the Xbox 360 console. The Redmond outfit posted a job notice on its Careers website looking for a graphics hardware guru in its Interactive Entertainment Business division. News of the position has been spreading like wildfire through cyberspace, prompting speculation that Microsoft is starting to put the pieces together for an Xbox 720, or whatever the next generation console might be called.
If you were to march into your local Best Buy to purchase a non-refurbished modern gaming console for the least amount of skrilla, you'd have to decide between a $299 PlayStation 3, $299 Xbox 360, and $199 Wii. That doesn't include gimped systems, like the $199 Xbox 360 with the hard drive stripped out, but the core models from each of the big three. What's interesting about this is that the price is the same now as it was 18 months ago, and at least one analyst thinks something has to give.
Microsoft is doing its part to clean up the virtual environment. As of yesterday, the Xbox 360 console maker has begun picking up old Gamertags that have been tossed aside and is recycling them, Xbox Live's Major Nelson announced in a blog post. That means if you've been wanting to use a Gamertag that was already snatched up but since abandoned, there's still hope it can be yours.
Preorders are up for the GAEMS (that's not a typo) G155 portable gaming case, or "mobile gaming environment," as the company likes to call it. Sporting a redesigned shell, the new G155 now supports both Microsoft's Xbox 360 console and Sony's slim version PlayStation 3. Pop open the lid and there's a 15.5-inch LED HD display with HDMI, so as long as there's an outlet where you're going, you're good to get your game on. More specs and pricing after the break.
In one of the strangest tech demos of Mobile World Congress 2011 to date, Microsoft has been showing off a tech demo of a Windows Phone 7 working with an Xbox 360 Kinect game. Read all about it and peep the video inside.
We're not going to spark a debate over consoles versus PCs (not intentionally, anyway), but without question, one of the big advantages of PC is the keyboard. Trying to type with a control pad simply stinks. The solution? Suck it up, because it comes with the territory of being a console gamer. Alternately, you can shell out for a third party peripheral. Turns out there's another way to make typing on a gamepad less painful.
What we love most about the Kinect isn't the motion controlled gaming, but the innovate software hacks programmers are coming up with. One of the latest comes from researcher Akihiro Nakamura from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan. Nakamura took the OpenNI API and developed a hack that lets users control their Roomba devices with a series of gestures, replacing the need to bend over and push buttons.
Mad Catz, one of the biggest players in the third-party peripheral market, just scored a major win by convincing Microsoft to let it produce and sell audio headphones co-branded under Mat Catz's Tritton and Microsoft's Xbox 360 brands, Mad Catz announced (PDF).
Under terms of the deal, Mad Catz has the worldwide rights to manufacture, market, and sell licensed, co-branded wired stereo headphones and exclusive rights to produce licensed, co-branded wireless stereo and Dolly 5.1 headphones for the popular console. The new line of headphones will ship in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, and incidentally, Mad Catz claims it will mark the first time that licensed and co-branded wireless cans will be available for the Xbox 360.
Jennifer Zdenek lives in Seattle and has an 11-year-old son diagnosed with autism. One of the ways he copes with his disability is by logging time on Xbox Live racking up achievements. Little Julias Jackson signed on to play last week, and to his and his mother's surprise, Xbox Live had taken away his achievements (nearly 1,500 of them) and labeled him a "cheater," Seattle's local Fox News affiliate reports.
"It is pretty much his only outlet and his only friend, because of autism," Zdenek explains. "It disgusts me that they did this to my child... if you have no friends and have no life outside of your home and this is all you do, you know because of your mental illness, then this is pretty devastating to him."
Zdenek says she called Microsoft and spoke with two people, one of which was a supervisor, but neither was any help. She was then referred to Microsoft's legal department "by address only."
Microsoft says, "The only actions that we take are to correct the player's current Gamerscore, and to label the player as a 'cheater.' This label can be observed on Xbox.com and through the player's view of their Gamercard on a console or computer that is connected to Xbox Live. The player can still legitimately gain future achievements. The player's experience does not change in any other way."
Furthermore, HardOCP reached out to Microsoft, who explained that even though it might not have been Julius or his mother who fudged with the account, they feel certain that someone did in order to boost his gaming score.
Stephen Toulouse, Director of Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement at Microsoft, apparently confirmed that somone at the home was cheating on the account in question.