Xbox and Kinect during Microsoft’s Opening Keynote
By Chris West

The Xbox portion of Microsoft’s opening keynote at CES 2012 was not taken lightly. A camera crew was literally up on stage with Craig Davison as he talked about everything Xbox. Nothing ground-breaking was revealed, but Microsoft’s gaming console definitely looks cool.

Before jumping too deep into anything, Microsoft hit us with some fun stats:
-There are over 40 million Xbox Live subscribers.
-Recently the Xbox has been turning more and more into an entertainment device, not just a gaming machine.
-Over 18 million Kinect units have shipped.

Metro UI
Craig first displayed how easy it was to use the new metro update that was recently released for the Xbox. Not only could he control basic functions with voice, but he could search for almost anything. Web searches were done by telling the Xbox to “bing” something, and finding media couldn’t be easier. With one voice command, he found everything related to a particular search. That included games, movies, and other media. He even searched for a particular actor he liked and it provided him with a list of movies and shows.

Media Options
In addition to the improvements on finding the movies you already love, many new improvements have been made on how you find media. Verizon Fios will soon be offering their 26 most popular channels, and Comcast has made an agreement to offer their Xfinity service through the Xbox. There was no word on whether or not this would be extra, or if it would be included with Xbox Live. Craig also displayed how to use the Xbox companion app from your Windows phone to display media on your big screen.

Interactive TV

In my opinion, this was the most interesting thing displayed during the Xbox portion of Microsoft’s keynote. They have partnered with Sesame Street and created the first application of actual interactive television. A person watching the show can use Kinect technology to influence what is happening on screen. They displayed a little girl throwing coconuts back to a puppet who had spilled them. Depending on the strength of the throw, the characters had different reactions. This may just sound like a video game, but if no action is taken the show continues as normal. In another portion, it actually displayed the girl on screen, and put her into the world of sesame street. Her actions influenced the world around her.

Kinect for Windows
Last, but certainly not least, Microsoft announced that Kinect would be coming to Windows in February. Apparently they have partnered with several companies who are already working on Kinect apps.

So nothing blew us out of the water this year, but we still have E3 to look forward to!

2012 International CES Coverage

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  • Lynette

    Sounds really cool.  It seems like something that would be a great learning tool for for preschoolers in addition to being entertaining. But then when you think about it, it could be educational for any age group.  It could even be just the thing to get elderly people more into technology.  Imagine putting in reruns of old shows, movies or music from the “old days”  and the old people in nursing homes could be entertained with changing the music or the speed of the music.  Or they could make themselves one of the characters in the movie!