Free Xbox 360 With Purchase Of Windows 7 Based PC For Students [US Only]

Students in the US will now get a complimentary 4GB Xbox 360 game console with the purchase of a Windows 7 based PC that costs at least $699. The deal starts from May 22 and the offer is open to students who order online from retailers (Microsoft, Dell, HP or Best Buy) using a .edu email address or displaying a valid student ID at the brands’ retail stores.

Free Xbox 360 With Windows 7 PC
A hot new Windows 7-based PC with a free Xbox 360 is the ultimate productivity, social and entertainment package for students,said Kathleen Hall, general manager of Windows Marketing at Microsoft, in a press release. In one shot, with this great offer, Microsoft is giving students everything they need for a successful new school year.he added.

For more information on retailers list and other details go to www.windows.com/freexbox (The link redirects to Windows’ Facebook Page). The offer lasts until September 3 in the US, and is to be implemented in France and Canada as well.

Via Technolog

Try Xbox Kinect At Your Home Before Buying: New Microsoft India Campaign

xbox-try-buy

In a very interesting campaign, the Xbox India division is allowing users to try the Xbox 360 and Kinect at their homes and then decide if they want to buy it. The facility is available in partnership with an electronics retail chain E Zone and limited to only 3 outlets (and 2 cities) across India. Currently available only at:

  1. E Zone: Oberoi Mall, Mumbai
  2. E Zone: Powai (Mumbai)
  3. E Zone: Koramangala Mall, Bengaluru

This is a clever marketing strategy from people at Microsoft India. Though the fine print hasn’t been shared, enthusiasts and casual gamers should indeed give it a try and then perhaps buy.

via Xbox 360 India

Microsoft Pilots Xbox Kinect For Interactive Education In South African School

Microsoft shared details on how they are using Xbox Kinect in a rural South Africa school for education. The project involves, Microsoft’s Live@Edu, a NGO — SchoolNet SA who helped develop the training material along with the local experts.

For those who remember, Xbox Kinect was known as Project Natal and the school in South African province KwaZulu-Natal is where the pilot has started.

Here’s a video shared by the team:

New Kinect Sensor Being Worked On, From The Inside

The Xbox Kinect accessory for the Xbox 360 changed Microsoft’s fortunes. The company suddenly got  recognized  as an innovative company and bagged quite a few awards for the Kinect. One of the factors responsible for Kinect’s success are the community projects. Microsoft has not sued any of the hackers unlike Sony and in fact released a SDK for developers to play around with the Kinect. But what’s next?

Knowing Microsoft, the next iteration is usually under discussions by the time a version ships out and I came across two job posting that clearly indicate that the next Kinect sensor is well underway and Microsoft is looking to change the guts. Here are  excerpts  from job postings:

The optical engineer will be responsible for designing and specifying interface requirements among opto-mechanical system, modules, and components […]

should have a working knowledge of radiometry, photometry, and optical testing, and apply these skills to identify critical to quality metrics for imaging and illumination systems.

[…] will also be responsible for qualification of injection molded lenses, accessory components, camera module, and solid state light sources.

Opto-mechanical systems are tiny mechanical circuits, much like the motors in the Kinect that follow you around. Another application:

responsibilities of this position are focused on specifying, designing, implementing and verifying subsystems in the sensor electrical design. This includes owning the part selections, schematic capture, PCB layout, BOM, and cost analysis of the subsystem design.

The subsystems include high speed busses (RGB, IR, USB, I2S), memory, audio/video interfaces, system clocking, power and thermal management, and misc. analog/digital circuitry.

This job application talks about the internal circuits of the Kinect.


Kinect Sales Over 10 Million; Bags a Guinness World Record

Xbox KinectThe Xbox Kinect has been a very popular device for users of the Xbox 360 gaming console and has also attracted a very active modder community. It has had record sales since launch which have been vetted by Guinness World Records.

Boosted by Christmas, the Kinect had sold over 8 million units by the first week of January 2011, with an average of 133,333 units sold daily, in its first 60 days of sale. It has been confirmed as the fastest selling consumer electronics device by Guinness.

“The sales figures here speak for themselves,” said Gaz Deaves, Gaming Editor for Guinness World Records. “According to independent research, no other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span, which is an incredible achievement considering the strength of the sector.”

Today, Microsoft confirmed that the Kinect has sold over 10 million units. Sales of the Kinect sensor and Kinect games are only expected to rise further. After a long time, Microsoft finally has a huge hit on its hands.

via Xbox and Guinness

Microsoft to Publish SDK for the Kinect Controller

Microsoft’s Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 has been a huge hit in the international market. Unlike the Nintendo Wii controllers and the Sony PlayStation Move and the PlayStation Eye, the Kinect allowed players to use their entire body as a controller. The Kinect has a 3D depth sensor implemented by two monochrome CMOS cameras and an infrared light as well as an RGB camera, allowing for depth-sensitive motion detection and facial recognition capabilities. In effect, it allowed players to drivea steering wheel of a car, use the main menu of the Xbox 360 using gestures and, of course, dance to Dance Central.

kinectplain

However, all this was possible only with the Xbox 360 console. PC gamers were loth to admire the brilliance of the system. It’s not supported on my platform, shouted some, while others hacked the system and made some extremely cool user interfaces a la Minority Report. Microsoft listened to all those hungry shouts and more importantly looked at the achievements of some brilliant minds working with the Kinect. They decided to release the Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Kinect.

KinectBoxHead

This SDK will give access to the secrets of the gesture-based game controller without hacking it thoroughly(!) Microsoft has stated that initially the SDK will be available for personal use (probably with the XNA Game Studio), but a commercial version might be released later.

Rejoice new age gamers! A new era might begin with gesture based gaming soon!

Gears of War 3 Gets Dated for September 20

Stock up on the shotgun rounds and increase the resistance of the gory side of your mind; you’re going to need it. Epic Games and Microsoft have announced the release date for the Xbox 360 exclusive third person shooter game Gears of War 3. Initially bidding for an April 2011 release date, the developers pushed it back to 20th of September recently.

GearsOfWar3Icon

The third and final installment of the Gears of War series that sees human soldiers (or Gears) in the fictional planet of Sera locked in conflict with aliens known as Locust. The series is high on war drama and is similar to the Resistance series on the PlayStation 3. Each game featured a fully voiced protagonist who takes on unbelievable odds with a company of good Gears behind him or her.

In Gears of War 3 players will have the option of playing between many different characters each with his or her own quirks and abilities. A lot of different weapons have also been announced by Epic Games such as the Pendulum War Era Lancer and the Digger Launcher. A new multiplayer mode called Beast modehas also been announced in which players play as the Locust horde against human opponents. This is the exact opposite of the Horde mode in the previous game in which players cooperatively fought against a Locust horde.

Evidently Microsoft will be spending a huge amount of money on the advertising budget, so don’t expect to forget that Gears of War 3 will be coming up for your 360 in September.

Xbox 360 With Kinect Gets Hulu Plus, Netflix and Avatar Kinect

Steve Ballmer boring keynote at the ongoing CES 2011 just got over and he has announced some new features for the Xbox 360 Kinect users. First and foremost, Steve announced the Avatar Kinect feature for Xbox 360 Kinect console owners. Right now, details about Avatar Kinect are sparse but from the keynote, it looked like the feature will allow Kinect owners to hang out with their friend virtually.

Pretty cool, eh? The feature will be available for all Kinect owners by spring 2011.

Avatar_Kinect

Along with Avatar Kinect, Microsoft also announced the Netflix and Hulu Plus app with for the Xbox 360 with support for Kinect. Both, Netflix and Hulu Plus will allow users to control the app as well as video playback using voice commands and gestures.

Microsoft did not mention anything else so we have to wait until more information about Netflix and Hulu Plus for Kinect surfaces.

Super Mario on Xbox 360 with Kinect Hack

The Xbox 360 Kinect is a marvel of a device and is Microsoft’s next step into the world of gaming. However, what made greater news is the series of hacks on the Kinect that is allowing hackers to create their own in-game control mechanisms. As Manan Kakkar puts it in this post from earlier this month,

Microsoft’s latest and greatest has been hacked to be controlled on Windows 7. Earlier last week a bounty of $2000 was offered for anyone who could hack and release open source drivers for the Kinect. In a video shared with Gizmodo, the Kinect is being controlled on Windows 7.

That was a long time ago and over these last few days, the Kinect has seen quite a few hacks, one of the most notable and recent being a Super Mario game-play using Kinect.

Here is a video for your viewing pleasures. If you cannot see the video, navigate to this YouTube page.

Kinect For Xbox 360 Launched in India

Microsoft has launched the for Xbox 360 in India. Kinect which is a controller free gaming system allows users to play games using motions which is detected by the Sensor.

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect has been a huge success across with Microsoft selling over 1 million units in 10 days. Microsoft Kinect sensor standalone will sell for an estimated price of 9,990 along with "Kinect Adventures". The Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect sensor and Kinect Adventureswill be available at an estimated retail price of  22,990.

Microsoft will be selling Kinect at 150 large retail stores in 7 top cities in India including Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.

For more information about Kinect, visit our earlier post to know What is Kinect or read the Microsoft Press release here.