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Microsoft shows off new Xbox, Kinect games at E3

New version of Xbox console and Kinect launch games line up revealed

The new Xbox console with the Kinect controller-free system.
The new Xbox console with the Kinect controller-free system.
The re-styled Xbox 360 includes wi-fi and less noisy operating, according to Microsoft.
The re-styled Xbox 360 includes wi-fi and less noisy operating, according to Microsoft.
Fifteen games are planned for release with Kinect, including virtual pet game Kinectimals.
Fifteen games are planned for release with Kinect, including virtual pet game Kinectimals.
Other titles include Kinect Joyride, plus a range of sports, fitness and dance sims.
Other titles include Kinect Joyride, plus a range of sports, fitness and dance sims.

Microsoft has released a new version of its Xbox 360 console. The new model includes wi-fi, an expanded 250GB hard drive and quieter operation, and goes on sale in the US today.

The console was a surprise announcement at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, where Microsoft has already revealed its Kinect controller-free gaming system.

The new version doubles the size of the existing 120GB drive, although the drive is not the same as the removable hard drive on existing consoles. Users will be able to switch data to the new console using USB flash storage, a function added by software upgrade to existing Xbox consoles earlier this year, and supported from launch with the new console.

The console also features quieter operation than before, after the older versions of the Xbox attracted criticism for being too noisy. The console includes a new 45nm chipset with less heat output, and one large fan instead of two.

Other features include 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi, five USB ports, HDMI port and a custom Kinect port.

The new console is due to go on sale with retailers in the US this week, priced $299, with a launch date of July 16th set for Europe. No Middle East release details were available at time of writing.

Microsoft has said that it has stopped producing the existing Xbox model, and will sell out stocks of the old model.

The company also released more details on its new Kinect controller, and the line up of games that will be available at launch, which is now officially set for 4th November in the US.

The Kinect will enable users to access menus and other features on the Xbox console, Microsoft said, just by waving at the television screen, the Kinect's facial recognition capabilities will recognize the user and access their preferences. Users can then access menus, entertainment and so on, using either gestures or voice commands.

Fifteen Kinect-compatible titles are planned for the launch, including four from Microsoft itself, including Kinectimals virtual pets, Kinect Sports sports sim, Kinect Joyride racing game and Kinect Adventure, an arcade style action game. other launches will include LucasArts Kinect Star Wards, EA Sports Active 2 and Sega Sonic Riders, and several other dance, fitness and sports titles.

While Microsoft did not mention official pricing, some US retailers are offering a pre-order for Kinect for $150.