CES 2012: Microsoft Xbox, Kinect Announcements

Microsoft gives its final address at CES 2012, but what news on the “Xbox 360 front” did we get? Hop on in to find out.

Xbox 360 Kinect CES 2012 Image

For this being Microsoft’s farewell to the Consumer Electronics Show (did they break up or something? I dunno) it sure was a mighty anticlimactic keynote. Propped up by lots sales numbers, a few mentions of what’s-to-come for the giant computer corp, yet otherwise, a major snooze-fest in this reporter’s humble opinion. Thankfully, I managed to stay awake for the parts that were the most interesting, all things Xbox 360 wise.

Exactly what does 2012 have in store for the Xbox 360? Kinect — and a whole lot of new uses for the motion-sensing camera. Yes, coming next month in February, a new Kinect for Windows program is launching alongside a new Kinect camera made specifically for PCs; supposedly, the new device will come with some minor improvements, such as a shorter USB cord, and software that will allow the camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters away.

Oh, but don’t get too excited (or not) about the prospects of playing Kinect-style games for you PC, this skew is aimed directly at Indie programmers looking to invest into the Kinect platform. Since June of last year, when Microsoft released the Kinect software development kit, a wholesome crop of developers have birthed some great alternative uses for the camera, and with Kinect For Windows, Microsoft wants to continue fostering such innovation.

Kinect For Windows Image

Time for sales numbers! Yeah, you knew that this was coming; deal with it. Alright, so we’ve been hearing for months that 2011 was a monster retail year for the Xbox 360 — and boy, is that monster a four-hundred feet tall radioactive-fire breathing giant. That’s because the total amount of 360 units sold worldwide was 66 million. Not entirely too surprising, word on the street was that this particular holiday season was outstanding for the Xbox 360; having beating out it’s rival video game console-makers by a pretty wide margin.

Adding to those epic numbers, Microsoft now reports that the Xbox 360’s Live service accounts for almost 40 million users — goodness. Definitely apps like ESPN, Netflix, and Bing search, have been, and will continue to be big selling points for the paid service, which will be expanding in the near future with new dash-board apps coming soon from Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and IGN.

Please keep it here at Walyou for all your juicy CES 2012 news, with the latest info about the PlayStation Vita and other handy products like this mystery USB charger by Griffin Technology.