Microsoft Natal Price And Launch Revealed

Microsoft’s Project Natal – a controller-free peripheral for Xbox 360 that will let users interact with the console without having to use a game controller is now revealed to launch in the US in October at a price of $149.

According to the sources, Natal shall be bundled along with the Xbox 360 Arcade and will retail at a price of $299. The peripheral will also launch outside US, but the price is noted to be determined later based on several factors including exchange rates.

As it should be evident, the marketed name is not going to be Natal though we are still unsure what it is going to be called. It has been earlier revealed that Sony’s  Natal competitor will be called Playstation Move.

[via Edge Online]

Live TV On Xbox 360 Coming In 2011

A Canadian website is claiming that Xbox 360 could come with live TV capabilities by 2011. According to a “trusted source“, the website notes that the feature could be much bigger than what European users get with Sky TV. Microsoft is claimed to be repositioning the XBox into a digital TV set top box with PVR capabilities supported by a prominent Canadian network carrier.

You may remember rumors from late last month that a live TV channel could be coming to Xbox. The source claims that this is going to be much bigger than just a solitary TV channel. Instead, the source says this will be “like putting Netflix, Zune Marketplace and Sky TV all in one place.

We have our doubts. But let’s pretend to believe it for now.

[via Game Focus]

Microsoft Xbox Live TV Launch Soon?

Microsoft may be in talks with former President of News Corp., Peter Chernin to launch a television channel exclusively for customers of their popular gaming console, Xbox. The discussions held between the two parties on April 12 worked out strategies to bring new original shows and reruns to the predominantly young male customers of Xbox.

According to reports on Bloomberg, the offering could be done in association with an increase of $1 or $2 in the monthly fee that gamers pay to Xbox Live. This could be a new way to monetize television content from viewers watching films and TV shows over the web.

Peter Chernin’s publicist however responded vaguely to the rumors saying, “Peter is talking to lots of people about lots of ideas in the digital space

[via Bloomberg]

Internet Browsing On XBox 360 Not Coming Anytime Soon

Yesterday we heard Sony’s new mantra for its PlayStation console – make it a multi-purpose device and thus make it a more generic product as opposed to the niche gaming consoles like XBox 360 and Wii.

It appears that Microsoft is in no mood to take on Sony in this regard. Will XBox 360 ever have the options to let users go online and surf the web from their gaming console device? We hear that the answer to this is NO.

This was communicated in an interview by Xbox product manager Aaron Greenberg Edge Magazine. Aaron says that the company’s tests on making internet available on home TV showed a “poor experience”. Greenberg said,

“We really believe that the web browsing experience on TV is a poor one, and the real magic is to take those Web experiences and optimise them for the living room. That’s what we did with Netflix. So, sure, you can go on the PS3 and go to Facebook and and try to navigate, but it’s an absolute nightmare.”

[via Digital Trends]

Xbox 360 Console Redesign In The Works

Microsoft may be working to redesign the hardware of its popular gaming console, Xbox 360. Images that have been doing the rounds lately on the Chinese web show the motherboard of the upcoming Xbox 360 that has a relatively smaller motherboard and one which combines computer and graphics processors on a single chip. Also, the chip replaces Microsoft’s proprietary hard drive port with a SATA interface port.

Wait, there is every reason to be sceptical about this whole thing. However, as Kotaku notes,

“Now, considering the source, there’s every reason to be sceptical of the images, and the info. Then again, with Natal due later this year, rebooting the 360 itself to go along with it would make a lot of sense, especially if a reduction in size could come with a reduction incost.”

What do you think? True or False?

[via Kotaku]

Xbox 360 Games On iPhone Coming Soon?

Will we get to see Microsoft Xbox 360 games coming to the iPhone? Rumors are that we might actually get to see it happening soon; though Microsoft shall not be the protagonist in this story.

Novell, the Massachusetts based software services corporation is expected to unveil its technology that will make it possible for developers to port their Xbox 360 games to the iPhone and possibly, also the Android handsets.

If this happens, then it could be a major setback to Microsoft that has been known to be banking on portablity of  Xbox 360 to its upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform as a viable selling proposition for this mobile OS that is expected to launch in smartphones later this year.

[via PC World]

Sony Develops A Universal Game Console Controller

In an attempt to tackle competition from the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony is reportedly working on a game controller that can serve as a universal controller; capable of also being used with Xbox or Nintendo.

A patent regarding this was recently filed by the Sony at the USPTO. According to this, the game controller will be an LCD display based device that will display different key layouts depending on the console being used. The inventors write

“A game console controller includes a hand-holdable housing and a touch sensitive liquid crystal display (LCD) on the housing. The LCD is caused to present, depending on what type of game console a user has selected, a controller key layout for a first type of game console or a controller key layout for a second type of game console. A key layout includes plural keys selectable by a user to input commands to a game console.”

Sony Universal Game Controller for Playstation

With increasing number of households going for multiple game consoles, it is evident that Sony wants Playstation to be at least one of them. By providing a universal controller, it can ensure that PS remains the default console in the house with the second device being one of Nintendo or Xbox.

What do you think of this strategy?

Microsoft In Talks To Buy ‘Happy Aquarium’ Developer

Microsoft may be in talks to buy CrowdStar, developers of the popular Facebook game ‘Happy Aquarium’. If rumors are to be believed, the value of the acquisition could be well over $200 million.

There has been a lot of consolidation in the social gaming space lately. EA Sports acquired Playfish last year for $400 million and earlier this week, Farmville developers Zynga acquired a smaller gaming firm, Serious Business for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction in all these cases is mutually win-win. While social gaming as a concept has grown by leaps and bounds in the past one year with more growth possible in the near future, this is also a high capital business requiring lots of resources. No wonder then that the investors are willing to sell out at the first opportunity for an exit.

Happy Aquarium is the fourth in the list of the most popular games on Facebook. By acquiring CrowdStar, there is a possible synergy that Microsoft may find between the web based social games and console based gaming on Xbox. If it works out fine, Microsoft can soon be the biggest force to reckon with in the gaming arena.

[via Bloomberg]

Windows Mobile 7 To Offer Free GPS Navigation

One more nail lurking over the coffin for GPS navigation companies like TomTom. Rumors are doing the rounds that Windows Mobile 7, Microsoft’s soon to be launched mobile OS might come equipped with a free GPS navigation software that will make the likes of TomTom and Garmin redundant.

Windows Mobile blog, MSMobile makes this claim on their blog stating further that the OS will also bring Zune, Xbox, Bing integration, Games, music, new kernel and new UI.

You might recall that Android already offers free turn-by-turn navigation on their platform and Nokia too has introduced the same with Ovi maps. With Microsoft too jumping ship, it might not be too late before Apple offers a similar software too. For the record, Cupertino acquired maps development company PlaceBase last year and there are speculations over introduction of GPS soon.

Do you think TomTom and the likes have a niche to cater to in this new world order? Let us know what you think.

[MSMobiles via TechTree]

EA Sports Active Coming Soon On XBox 360, PS3

EA Sports’ ‘fitnessware‘ on Wii, EA Sports Active could soon be coming to Xbox 360 and PS3. While speculations surrounding this have existed ever since Electronic Arts brought the productivity tool for Wii, a recent story on gaming blog Super Annuation seems to have strengthened it further.

Super Annuation has caught hold of the resume of one of the lead developers for the site, Sean Quinn, who had apparently listed this as a project he is currently working on. The resume, located at his personal website here (PDF link) has since then replaced the project title with ‘Unannounced Project’. As the blog reports, the project was originally titled ‘EA SPORTS Active (Xbox 360/PS3)’

The project appears to have started back in September of last year. We presume it to be in final stages of development presently.

[via Super Annuation]