While everyone was awaiting more details on the Kinect – the official name for what was Project Natal – Microsoft surprised everyone at gaming event E3 by introducing a slimmer new Xbox 360 gaming console that will retail for €249.99.
The new Xbox 360 comes with built-in Wi-Fi N and can store double the amount of games and media on a 250GB hard drive.
Microsoft says that unlike it’s predecessors, it is "whisper quiet, so the silent tension of a game or movie is never broken."
The new Xbox 360 system comes with a wireless controller, Xbox 360 headset, HDMI input, USB flash drive and storage capabilities.
It will be available in Ireland and the UK priced at €249.99 and stg£199 respectively.
Microsoft is betting on a rip-roaring Q4 with pent-up demand for the latest in popular franchises like Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Gears of War 3.
Add to this explosive mix the new Kinect platform which allows players to play without controllers just using their body movement to play racing and fitness games and which will debut on 4 November in the US.
“At Microsoft, we believe fun is a universal magnet, uniting us and connecting us all together,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice-president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.
“We believe interactive entertainment is the greatest form of all entertainment, and it should be open and approachable to as many people as possible, and it is this belief that led us to remove the last barrier between you and the entertainment you love. By making you the controller, we will transform how you and your friends experience games and entertainment.”
Microsoft yesterday at E3 announced a number of new additions to the Xbox 360 Platform such as ‘The Stadium Experience at Home’ where Xbox LIVE Gold members will enjoy free, instant access to more than 3,500 ESPN events every year on ESPN3.com including college basketball, college football and bowl games, MLB, NBA, international soccer, tennis including all four Grand Slam tournaments, golf majors and much more.
Microsoft also announced the expansion of the Zune music experience to Xbox LIVE. With a Zune Pass subscription (sold separately), Xbox LIVE Gold members can discover and play an unlimited number of songs from a catalogue of more than 7m tracks, all streamed instantly, on-demand and in crystal-clear quality.
Next year, Microsoft will link Video Kinect with Windows Live Messenger, allowing the Xbox LIVE community to have rich, real-time video conversations with hundreds of millions of PC users around the world. It will also integrate custom news feeds, weather and videos from Bing, sparking conversation just like you’re in the same room reading the paper or watching the news together.