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E3 2010: Microsoft Keynote Wrap-Up

News; Jun. 15, 2010; Channels: Video Games; By Jason Winstanley
Subtypes: News
Los Angeles, CA, USA

It's that time of year again. All the big gaming companies are now in Los Angeles, ready to bring us wonder and joy. Unfortunately, I'm not lucky enough to be there, and yet I still have the latest news from the Microsoft Keynote at E3. Let's take a look, shall we?

Project Natal No-More: Microsoft Kinect it is, then

Somehow, I knew Project Natal just wouldn't cut the ice. It was announced that "Project Natal" is over, to be replaced with "Microsoft Kinect." The hardware itself is pretty sweet, and it's already been confirmed accessory designer "Mad Catz," who had a stand at the Keynote, have a Kinect Floor stand (priced at $30) already waiting for release.

Kinect is looking pretty sweet so far. Yes, it does seem that Microsoft are taking a leaf from the instruction manual of the Nintendo Wii, using grand gestures to play games. But, truth be told, it's common sense. The Kinect will solve games being difficult to play, due to the buttons. Using the body as a controller is... well, simple.

There are two important questions which the keynote has brought up. Will the Kinect be successful? And, Will it be a big hit with both casual and hardcore gamers? We'll find out later this year.

Voice Control, and a new Dashboard too

Alongside Kinect, we got a look at a few new features related to it. First off, we have a new dashboard where you can control what you select with your body... preferably your hands. Voice control has also shown itself, meaning you can say "Xbox, pause track," and if you are playing music it'll... guess. Microsoft also demoed Video Calling between Xboxes with VideoKinect. all in all, the Kinect is showing its use for social reasons and gaming.

Xbox 360 sheds a fan... and gains a lot more

The Xbox 360 Slim, heavily rumored over the past year has been made official. The Xbox 360 Slim is a heavily modified version of the Xbox 360, with a massive design change. Well, I say change, I mean nearly everything is different. We'll split each of the main changes into sub-headings.

Design: The Slim is arguably much better looking than the original Xbox 360. It's sleeker, smaller and has touch-sensitive buttons rather than actual ones. Several press-agents at E3 have commented that the reduction in console-noise (coming next) combined with the touch-sensitive power button with a dim light inevitably means they have trouble checking if the console is actually booting or not.

Noise: The Slim has been silenced! I say silenced, I mean it's a lot quieter than the original. Instead of two smaller fans, there is now one large fan keeping the device cool. Whether this will affect the Red Ring of Death problem, I'm not sure. Hopefully we won't be seeing more red eyes when the Slim does find its way to the spot our White Xbox 360 currently resides.

Storage: The Slim is being shipped with a massive 250GB hard-drive. Here is where there is a backwards-compatibility issue. To make the Slim beautiful, the hard drive no longer sits at the head (or side, depending on it's orientation) of the device. It now has a resting place below the fan, quite surprisingly hidden. And therefore looks different from the original hard drives. This means that memory transfers will be difficult, if you already got yourself a 250GB hard-drive. Luckily, the old transfer cables still apply here.

Connectivity: Built-In WiFi. I jumped for joy when I heard those words. It's a bit of a coincidence that the week a Wifi-enabled Xbox 360 (without stumping up above the original cost of the actual console) is announced is the week my house enters the 20th century (yeah, we are still a few years behind). We moved from cabled internet, to wireless around the house. So I'll be needing one of these. The Slim also comes with an increased amount of USB ports (up two ports, meaning there are now five in total), and rather oddly, a Kinect port. The original Xbox 360 will support the Kinect with the assistance of something called a Y-cable. More info on that when we get it.


JTermyWy - Jun. 16, 2010 at 9:18:30pm

I myself still have a launch-day 360! My dad pre-ordered one as a Christmas present 6 months before it was released. Still didn't get it until nearly the Christmas after release. Hah.

Indeed, the Slim does look awesome, and I plan to get one. Alongside Kinect at some point.
Oh, and Portal 2. And Fable 3.


rfludwick - Jun. 16, 2010 at 4:10:08pm

I've got a launch-day 360 man, I don't even get HDMI! lol


JCXanirus - Jun. 16, 2010 at 3:41:53pm

Too bad I already have he Elite, which isn't so "L33t" anymore.


rfludwick - Jun. 16, 2010 at 12:09:03pm

It kinda does, doesn't it? I like how it looks. Best-looking console visually that Microsoft has put out yet.


JCXanirus - Jun. 16, 2010 at 11:44:34am

The new 360 looks like an Alienware...


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