Microsoft's E3 2011 announcements have been prematurely revealed, and the company only has itself to blame. The Xbox E3 page spilled the details for a few short moments, but enough for us to grab some screenshots: not only is Halo 4 confirmed as on its way, along with Dance Central 2, Kinect Star Wars and other titles, but new Kinect Fun Labs games too. More details and shots after the cut.
As expected, Microsoft has announced that it is acquiring VoIP firm Skype for $8.5bn in cash. The deal will see Skype integration with Microsoft platforms including Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices; it will also allow for cross-communication between Skype users and Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities.
Clever hackers put together an interactive piece of art that is reminiscent of the old Flying Toasters screensaver. The artists call it a kitschy "absurdist reconstruction of the classic screensaver Flying Toasters." Become one with the winged toaster, flap your arms to flap the wings and tilt to flip your tiny silver box to roll away from danger. First off, this looks really fun. Secondly, they're already talking about turning it into a game. This is an early look into something that's going to be super fun.
Microsoft's next-gen OS, Windows 8, will be user-aware according to the latest APIs discovered, suggesting the platform could well be able to track and identify users when they sit at their PCs. Windows8Italia spotted the "Detect human presence" API in among their M1 copy of Windows 8; Microsoft has used a similar system on the Xbox 360 with Kinect, to log users into Xbox LIVE services using face recognition.
When the Microsoft Kinect launched in November, allowing gamers to play video games with only the movement of their bodies, everyone wondered if it would catch on. Now with more than 10 million units sold, it clearly has.
As of March 2011, Xbox 360 is and remains the number one selling console in the entirety of the United States. This is judged based on console and software sales as well as continued consumer demand for the accessory known as Kinect, aka the fastest selling consumer electronics device in 60 days in recorded history. Sounds pretty impressive, yes? Let's go through a few highlights that'll continue to make your brain melt all over the floor.
Right now, we're living in a world where we look at more computer generated imagery than anything else. Doctors are reaching a critical point where the amount of medical imagery generated during something like a routine CT scan is daunting to navigate. Kenju Suzuki at the University of Chicago says, "As medical imaging has advanced, so many images are produced that there is a kind of information overload. The workload has grown a lot." Antonio Criminisi leads a group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, U.K. working on a system that will make it easier for doctors to work with databases of medical imagery. The system indexes the images generated during the scans. It automatically recognizes organs, and they are working to train the system to detect certain kinds of brain tumors.
The Guinness World Records seems to be quite active lately bestowing titles for the largest Lady Gaga gatherings to the fastest 1 million Twitter followers reached by Charlie Sheen. Today, a new record has been set for the fastest selling consumer electronics device that's surprisingly not an Apple device but rather the Microsoft Kinect.
Microsoft has previewed a next-gen UI for smartphones, tablets and PCs, which evolves the traditional windows and icons into bubbles of information which can be manipulated with motion-tracking hardware. The video, presented by Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, shows how gadgets like Kinect and multitouch displays like Surface can be used for more naturalistic interaction with data.
Microsoft is planning a conference at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week in San Francisco. Not many details on what the conference will be about specifically, but it is rumored to be Kinect focused.