Microsoft Continues Plans for Xbox 360 to Take Over Living Rooms

Posted Mon Jun 6, 2011 at 02:40 PM PDT by

Microsoft is betting big on its Kinect to be the Xbox 360 accessory that not only changes the way games are played, but what also makes the Xbox 360 an all-in-one living room media hub.

Announced this morning were a gluttony of new game titles that will either be enhanced by the Kinect (meaning, you'll play them with the normal Xbox 360 controllers, with added movement and voice commands being available via Kinect), or be played as controller-free Kinect titles.

First up, in the Enhanced-by-Kinect category, EA Sports said Kinect support was coming for this year's versions of 'Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, 'Madden NFL', 'FIFA', and one other still-to-be-named title. Other sequels getting Kinect support include 'Forza Motorsport 4', 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier' 'Mass Effect 3', 'Fable: The Journey', 'The Sims 3 Pets', and 'Family Game Night 4'.

As one would expect for controller-free games, sequels to 'Dance Central and 'Kinect Sports' will also be out by the end of the year. 'Kinect Sports: Season Two' will include skiing, American football, darts, golf, baseball, and tennis.

Controller-free games are being made for both kids and adults, with 'Disneyland Adventures' and 'Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster' promising younger gamers the chance to interact with their favorite characters. On the adult side, developer Cryteck is prepping 'Ryse', a historical Roman epic, for release. And, what looks like a lot of fun, LucasArts will be giving Fanboys a chance to fight like a real-life Jedi (though I hope no one ends up doing a front flip into his or her flatscreen).

E3 attendees got their first look at 'Halo 4', due out in 2012, but for this holiday season, Microsoft is releasing a remastered-for-HD version of the original 'Halo', entitled 'Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary'. Have a look here:

Outside of gaming itself, Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to be your living room's hub for all digital media. Once again, the Kinect is front and center, allowing Xbox LIVE subscribers to use Bing to "voice search" your Xbox, home network, and the Internet itself for all forms of digital content. This will include YouTube.

"Bing on Xbox searches Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN, as well as music, video, and Xbox LIVE Marketplace to find exactly the entertainment you want to enjoy… You say it, Xbox finds it."

For months, rumors have being flying that Microsoft would, as part of its Xbox LIVE service, announce its Diamond IPTV service for North America, which purportedly will allow access to a slew of cable channels. And while similar services are already available in the UK, France, and Australia, nothing official was announced today, other than another promise for Live TV on Xbox LIVE by the end of the year.

Source: Microsoft

What do you think? Do you like the Kinect? Do you care? Do you want to watch live TV via your Xbox 360? Hit up the forum to share your thoughts.

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Tags: Xbox 360, Industry Trends, High-Def Gaming, Kinect, Microsoft (all tags)