Happy 10th Birthday Xbox!

When Sony announced the PS 2 In March, 1999, Microsoft had no presence in consoles, and only a small piece in the game business with niche titles for PCs like Microsoft Flight Simulator. The long standing vision of Bill Gates: a PC on every desk’ was near, but Microsoft had no presence in the living rooms. Sony had 47 percent of the game console market with PlayStation and had left erstwhile leaders, Sega and Nintendo, behind.

Launch

This was to change as announced on September 20, 2000. J. Allard, then general manager of Xbox, and John O’Rourke, director of Xbox marketing, unveiled the logo for the upcoming game console at a news conference in San Francisco.

November 14, 2001 was a special night. Bill Gates and his men were at the New York’s Times Square waiting for the midnight for the official launch. The excitement was mixed with fear. It wasn’t a software program this time. Shortly after midnight, Bill Gates handed over the first Xbox video game system ever to Edward Glucksman at the Toys “R” Us store.

Bill Gates with Xbox NYC 2001

Microsoft sold 1.5 million Xbox units in the US between the launch and the end of calendar year 2001, making Xbox the best-selling video game console launch. On March 14, 2002, several midnight events throughout Europe marked the launch of Xbox in 16 European countries and Australia. Microsoft’s second console, the Xbox 360, and the associated game business rake in more than $1 billion in profits every year now.

Xbox LIVE

Xbox Live Poster 2002

Microsoft introduced Xbox LIVE in November 2002 and sold 150,000 Xbox LIVE Starter Kits in the service’s first week. Xbox LIVE currently has 35 million members worldwide who spend 2.1 billion hours a month on the service. It is one of the earliest successes in the social market, and also made online console gaming a reality.

Kinect

June 14, 2010 marked the Microsoft’s next bet in the gaming and entertainment business. However, this time it wasn’t a business diversification, but a technological progression. Microsoft demonstrated a controller-free experience that allows players to jump, dodge and kick their way through exciting adventures, at E3 2010 in Los Angeles. It was called Project Natal.

Times Square

The night of November 3, 2010 was different than the one 9 years ago. Bill Gates wasn’t there at the Times Square. The square, however, was draped in purple and Microsoft hosted a dance party with thousands to celebrate the launch of Project Natal, now branded as Kinect for Xbox 360. The crowd lined up to be among the first to buy Kinect at midnight at the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square. Kinect for Xbox 360 set a Guinness World Record as the fastest-selling consumer electronic device, selling 8 million units in 60 days.

Watch Microsoft Kinect in Action – New Videos

Yesterday’s Project Natal extragavanza was a camera free event. So, baring a few shaky YouTube videos, most of the world is still waiting for a glimpse of some of the Kinect goodness that Microsoft unleashed in their launch party. Fortunately for us, IGN has managed to get their hands on the trailers of some of the games and features demonstrated yesterday.

We have already covered Microsoft Kinect (previously Project Natal) extensively. Check out our previous coverage, if you feel the need to catch up on all the buzz surrounding Microsoft’s new controller-free gaming experience.

Kinect Adventures

Kinect Sports

Dance Central

Video Controls

Last year, Microsoft showed us what it envisioned the future of gaming (or at least casual gaming) to be, and left us floored. Now that the Kinect is here, does it live up to the expectations? Check out the official gameplay videos and decide for yourself, but color me impressed. Sure, I would still prefer a gamepad for hardcore gaming, but Kinect does look to be genuinely fun. It definitely looks a lot more impressive than PS3 Move and is at the very least capable of stealing Nintendo Wii’s thunder.

What is Microsoft Kinect, Kinect Details and More

So, it’s official now. Project Natal will indeed be rechristened as Microsoft Kinect. I don’ know about you, but as far as I am concerned, “Project Natal” definitely sounded way cooler. In case you have been left bewildered by all the hoopla surrounding Microsoft Kinect, you have come to the right place. I will try to explain in brief exactly what Microsoft Kinect is and why everyone is so excited about it.

Microsoft-Kinect

In many ways, Nintendo kick-started a gaming revolution with Nintendo Wii. Wii replaced a traditional gamepad with a motion sensing controller and made gaming fun again to a wide section of the population (not just the hardcore gamers). As a result, Wii has been selling like hotcakes ever since it was released.

Kinect is basically Microsoft’s response to the Wii. With Kinect, Microsoft has eliminated the controller altogether. Simply stated, it is an add-on for Xbox 360 that uses a sensor, containing cameras and microphones, to enable you to interact with the system through gestures, spoken commands and other objects. If you are having difficulty in wrapping your mind around this concept, have a look at the videos embedded below.

Last night, Microsoft officially announced Kinect in an elaborate spectacle at the Galen Centre. Amidst extravagant performances by Cirque du Soleil, Microsoft demoed some of the games that will be using Kinect.

They include:

Joyride: This is the racing game shown in the first video. You can control your car through various gestures executed by your hand and body, including rotating an imaginary steering wheel and changing (once again, imaginary) gears.

Kinectimals: This game lets you train and play with 20 different virtual cats including lions, cheetahs and tigers. As adorable as the game is, Microsoft really needs to fire the guy who keeps coming up with these bewilderingly stupid and confusing names.

Microsoft-Kinect-Demo

Kinect Sports: Given the raging success of Wii Sports and Wii Fitness. It’s no surprise that Microsoft has decided to imitate them. Kinect Sports includes boxing, bowling, beach volleyball, track and field, soccer and table tennis. Once again, you will be using your entire body while playing. So expect the experience to be a whole lot more physical than your typical gaming session.

Kinect Adventures: With Kinetic Adventures, you don’t even need to head outdoors to get a taste of adventure. Finish obstacle courses or participate in river rafting time trials by jumping, swaying and executing other full-body movements. To make the experience even more fun, you can play K.A. with up to four friends.

Dance Central: This one is developed by MTV games and basically brings “So You Think You Can Dance” to every household.

Other games demoed include an unnamed fitness game for yoga and martial arts practice, and a truly kickass Star Wars game. Microsoft has tied up with content providers like Disney to ensure that plenty of games are available for the Kinect at launch.

Kinetic will definitely be launched in time for this holiday season. We are expecting an October-November launch; however, we will have to wait until Microsoft’s E3 keynote for the official word. Pricing is another aspect, which Microsoft has declined to comment on. Subscribe to Techie Buzz for more Microsoft Kinect updates.

(Images via Engadget)

Project Natal Will Be Called Microsoft Kinect [Leaked]

Earlier today we told you that Microsoft will be revealing their Project Natal tonight as part of E3 or Electronic Entertainment Expo, however, before the event could even kickoff there was a leak by USA Today which confirms that Microsoft’s Project Natal will be called Microsoft Kinect.

Project Natal Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect is the re-christened name for Project Natal and will be available in the holiday season of 2010. There are no details available about the pricing or release date yet, but you might see some announcement coming out today or during the course of E3.

By the way, if you are looking to catch up all the action on E3, you can checkout how to Watch E3 conference online and also take a look at what you can expect at E3 to learn more about it.

(Source)

Microsoft Project Natal Coming Later Tonight [E3]

Microsoft caught us by surprise and literally swept us off our feet with their unveiling of the futuristic “Project Natal” in E3 2009. Here is the ubercool launch video, in case you had missed it earlier.

In brief, Project Natal is the codename for an Xbox 360 add-on that would provide a controller free gaming and entertainment environment. With Natal you can ditch your gamepad and remote control. You will be able to play games, watch movies and do more using just your body.

Tonight Microsoft is organizing a special pre-E3 event dubbed the World Premiere Project Natal’ for the Xbox 360 Experience at the Galen Center. The event is scheduled to begin at 7PM PST. Although cameras are strictly prohibited, you need not worry, since Microsoft is going to stream the entire event live. You can find the links to watch the Project Natal launch and other E3 events live in our previous post.