Xbox Gets Motion Controller, Facebook, 1080p Movies
Microsoft unveils a slew of upgrades for its Xbox 360 entertainment console at E3.
Microsoft on Monday made a series of announcements around its Xbox 360 entertainment platform, including news that the company has partnered with Facebook to let users interact with the social networking site on their television sets via the Xbox console.
Microsoft, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, also unveiled Project Natal, under which the company has developed a motion-control system for Xbox 360 games. The system relies on sensors that track players' body movements to allow them to interactively play sports and other games without having to hold any hardware.
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"The next step in interactive entertainment is to make the controller disappear," director and producer Steven Spielberg said at E3. "With Project Natal we'll see games that bring everyone together through technology that actually recognizes us."
Microsoft also showed off its latest line up of Xbox 360 games, including Forza Motorsport 3, Alan Wake, Halo 3:ODST, and The Beatles: Rock Band.
As for Facebook, Xbox 360 owners will be able to tap the site through Microsoft's Xbox Live online service and display it on their television sets. Microsoft said it worked with Facebook to develop a version of the site optimized for TV screens. Microsoft also announced a similar arrangement for Internet radio service Last.fm and Xbox Live Party.
"We are always asking ourselves how to make TV more social," said John Schappert, corporate VP for interactive entertainment live, software, and studios at Microsoft. "By bringing Facebook, Last.fm, and Xbox Live Party for movies and TV shows to Xbox Live, we're not only extending the walls of your living room beyond your home to your friends in different corners of the world, we're creating the definitive social network."
If it weren't enough, Microsoft also unveiled Monday a service through which it plans to deliver on-demand movies to Xbox 360 users in the 1080p high-definition format. "No discs, no waiting for downloads, and no delays," Microsoft promised.
The Xbox enhancements undoubtedly put pressure on Nintendo to update its Wii system, the first console to include motion-control technology.
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