Microsoft Shows Off Major Overhaul of the Xbox 360 Dashboard and Goes All-In with Kinect

Posted by at 12:07 pm on June 6, 2011

At its E3 keynote, Microsoft announced a planned  major overhaul of the Xbox 360 Dashboard to focus more heavily on media. The new Xbox experience now adds live TV and will let users see real-time streaming video.

YouTube video is also coming, Microsoft said. The feature will be part of the video section .  How it will be powered was not given, but it appeears to be done with a native app instead of the web interface.

Tiles come to the Xbox

The Dashboard itself has been revamped to use the same tile interface as  Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8. Games, movies, and other content are separated into their own sections. Bing voice search is now built-in and lets users look for a specific title, generic categories, and music.

Kinect

With all the great games using Kinect showed at the E3 press event, your Xbox controller might get a nice layer of dust on it.  Kinect Fun Labs now gives an area for short, contained experiences using the motion controller, such as creating an avatar based on your Kinect photo or drawing with your fingers.

Any of the new Kinect games are for families and kids of all ages, including a game from Disney in which players will be able to high-five Mickey Mouse or fly with Peter Pan and Wendy, as well as the game “Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster.” For the bigger kids and everyone else, “Ryse” will bring the gritty experience of ancient Rome to life, and – thanks to Kinect’s full-body recognition capabilities – a Star Wars game will allow players to physically train as a Jedi.

Kinect fans also will experience sequels to some of the most popular release titles, including follow ups to “Dance Central” and “Kinect Sports.” “Dance Central 2” will enable two dancers to break it down at the same time, allowing them to go head-to-head with a catalogue of more than 100 songs. “Kinect Sports: Season Two” includes six new activities – skiing, American football, darts, golf, baseball and tennis.

A few new games, such as “Forza Motorsport 4,” will still be played on the traditional Xbox controller, but will get a turbocharge from Kinect’s head-tracking features, O’Donnell says. That means players will be able to do things such as move their head to check their mirror to check out who is hot on their tail. Games such as “Ghost Recon Future Soldier” and “Mass Effect 3” will also be enhanced by Kinect. Also, Ubisoft announced that all future Tom Clancy games will take advantage of Kinect.

EA SPORTS also announced Kinect support for several of its blockbuster titles in 2012, including “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR,” “Madden NFL,” and “FIFA.” In the next 12 months, EA also has several additional titles that will feature Kinect, including “The Sims 3 Pets,” “Family Game Night 4,” and what is sure to be one of the biggest games of 2012, “Mass Effect 3.”

The new Experience is expected to come out in a fall update.

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