Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Kinect (Project Natal) and New Slim Xbox 360 launched

, posted: 15-Jun-2010 09:37

This morning Microsoft have formally announced a new slim Xbox 360 console which includes 250gb Hard Drive and Wireless N networking. It is both smaller and quieter than the existing Xbox 360 and apparently includes a new 45nm CPU that has the graphics processor integrated. No word yet on what impact this has on performance (if any). Launch is the U.S. is 15 June, with international launch 16 July.

Pricing is US $299 - the same as the current Xbox Elite. Expect International pricing to also match existing Xbox Elite pricing (such as NZ$499 in New Zealand, AU$449 in Australia, €249.99 in Europe and £199 in the UK). It's also been leaked that a lower-end version without hard drive that replaces the Xbox 360 Arcade will be launched for US$199 - or equivilent pricing to current Xbox Arcade in other countries.

Announced prior to the new Xbox 360 is the Kinect - previously code named 'Project Natal' which will deliver a gaming and user interface based on movement and audio input via a 3D depth sensing camera. Launch date for the U.S. is 4 November with International launch expected later in November. Pricing is still to be announced though many are suggesting it could be US$150 on it's own - or US$100 when bundled with a new console - at this pricing it would most likely include a game also. There are fifteen initial Kinect games and titles being launched including Kinect Sports which is likely aimed as Wii Sports killer.

If you like Xbox gaming then worth keeping an eye out for the new Windows Phone 7 handsets as these are actually likely to be released prior to the Kinect (from LG, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Dell, etc) - they will all include mobile Xbox Live gaming and integration with the Xbox 360.

It has been confirmed that a range of other new features are coming to Xbox 360 this year. Access to the Zune music library of 7+ million tracks along with many music videos directly from the Xbox is promised. Also coming is live and on demand TV viewing from Foxtel for Xbox users in Australia without an additional set-top-box. Both of these services will require an associated subscription however these are a sign of continued expansion of the Xbox.

The Kinect for Xbox 360 along with the new Xbox 360 :
Demo video of Kinect gaming:

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