Project Natal to launch as Kinect, slimmer Xbox 360 possible

By on June 14, 2010, 2:16 AM
Update: Microsoft has announced its redesigned Xbox 360 model with a 250GB hard drive and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. They've also given Kinect a price and release date: $150 on November 4. More details available here.

Microsoft has officially baptized its Xbox 360 motion-sensing system as Kinect, in a very unique press event yesterday night which included a jungle theme, Xbox Avatars wandering around on displays above attendees wearing white poncho throw-overs, and a Cirque du Soleil presentation. Using virtually no words, as usual, the French-Canadian circus troupe showed off the add-on formerly known as Project Natal and several titles through videos and live performances.

Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, told GameSpot that Sunday was all about entertainment, but they are prepared to give out more concrete details about Kinect at their E3 conference later today. Some of the news has already leaked early, with a list of games including Kinectimals (a virtual big-cat training sim), Kinect Sports (Microsoft's answer to Wii Sports with table tennis, boxing, bowling, soccer and more), Joyride (a kart-style racer), Kinect Adventures (a river-raft simulator), and dancing game Dance Central.

Other titles shown at the live presentation included a yoga trainer and a Star Wars game in which you play a light saber-wielding Jedi. If motion-controlled gaming is not your thing, though, don't fret. Microsoft also promised its conference will have a large emphasis on "core games" such as Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3, and Fable III.

Video chat is also on the menu, and it will apparently have support for up to four users at once. Perhaps more interestingly, rumors are abuzz that a slimmer Xbox 360 design might be announced at E3, with leaked ads and pictures of a new motherboard doing the rounds. The unit is expected to feature a 250GB hard drive and have built-in Wi-Fi.


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