Microsoft confirms Xbox Live integration on Windows 8

Microsoft has re-confirmed that the company’s Xbox Live service will be built into the next version of its desktop operating system. There are few details about the integration at this point, but according to a blog post by Microsoft’s Director of Programming for Xbox, Live Larry Hryb (also known as Major Nelson), this week at the BUILD 2011 conference they will be showing how easy it is for developers to integrate the service into Windows 8 applications.

“We are very excited about Xbox LIVE coming to Windows 8.  Xbox LIVE brings your games, music, movies, and TV shows to your favorite Microsoft and Windows devices.  Bringing Xbox LIVE to Windows 8 is part of our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” wrote Hryb.

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Microsoft Raises Price For Xbox Live Gold Membership

Microsoft announced on Monday morning that it was increasing the price of an Xbox Live Gold membership by $10, from $49.99 to $59.99 a year, including for existing members in the U.S. starting November 1st. Members in the U.K., Canada and Mexico will also see price increases. The new price, the first time the company has ever raised its rates, represents a 20% increase, which will likely have a significant impact on the revenues of the moneymaking service.

The company is also raising the 3-month price of Gold membership from $19.99 to $24.99 and 1-month price from $7.99 to $9.99. But those who act quickly may be able to get a 1-year lock in price of $39.99, according to a special deal that launched on Monday as well.

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Microsoft to sell Kinect at $150, also sell bundles

Microsoft Corp will sell its new Kinect motion-sensing gaming system for about $150 and also offer it in a package with the Xbox 360 videogame console when sales of the hands-free device start in November, the company said on Tuesday.

The price, omitted by Microsoft when it introduced Kinect at the E3 videogame conference in June, matches the pre-order price that retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop and posted online weeks ago.

Kinect sales start on November 4, and Microsoft is sure to aim its marketing message at the owners of the more than 40 million Xbox 360 models that have already been sold. The sensor will come with a family game called “Kinect Adventures.”

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Review: Mad Catz Wireless N Adapter for Xbox 360

Microsoft Announces Family Subscription Plan for Xbox Live

At this year’s E3, Microsoft set forth its plans to transform the Xbox 360 from a hardcore game-oriented platform into something family based with the Nov. 2 release of Kinect, and now, have created a new Xbox Live plan that better exemplifies the new approach to family gaming. For $99.99, 360 owners can purchase a Family Subscription, which gives four gamertags on the same 360 a year’s worth of Xbox Live Gold for the price of two.

The plan, which launches in November alongside Kinect, gives Mom, Dad, and the kids a year of Live each, which erases the need for guest accounts or gamertag sharing. Also added are new features such as the ability for the primary account to purchase and give Microsoft Points to other accounts, family-exclusive content, and the Family Center, Plus, you’ll be able to take a team of four into your favorite multiplayer game, as after all, the family that frags together, stays together.

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Microsoft Confirms Kinect Bundles, New $199 Xbox 360

An internal marketing Q&A for Microsoft about confirm that Kinect will be bundled with consoles, and a $199 configuration of its new Xbox 360 will be available this fall.

In its document, Microsoft said Kinect would be available as a standalone device and as “part of a bundle with the newly designed Xbox 360 console,” but “we have no additional details about pricing or retail strategy to share at this time.” Kinect bundles already sprouted up at GameStop, earlier this week, an Arcade bundle for $299 and an Elite bundle for $399.

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Microsoft Project Natal to Ship Oct 26, Rumor Suggests

Microsoft’s Project Natal, which features motion-feedback gameplay similar to the Nintendo Wii and and connects directly to the Xbox 360 console, appears to be shipping October 26, 2010. That’s if you believe a recent report, which also says the add-on will cost about $150 USD.

The ship date and the price have both been suggested by UK gaming magazine, Edge. The $150 price tag actually conflicts with older reports that Microsoft might try to get the device down to around 50 UK pounds, or $72 USD. The new price isn’t going to provide the “impulse buy” sensation those earlier predictions involved.

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Sega to release new Virtual On game for Xbox 360

Sega decided to re-release its Virtual On Oratorio Tangram (VOOT) mecha fighting game on Xbox Live last year. It proved popular, so popular in fact that fans can expect a follow-up game.

This time round Sega has decided to forego the digital download route and instead will release a boxed game. This new game will be called Virtual On Force (VOF) which is the sequel to VOOT released in the arcades back in 2001.

What’s new in VOF is team play where players are teamed in pairs fighting another pair with the aim to protect your team leader, something that’s sure to be a hit on Xbox Live. Team play also means new moves and we can expect to find team play friendly moves including Rescue Dash which allows you to share health between teammates.

As well as 2 vs. 2 action through Live you will also be able to play in co-op fighting boss characters. Four-player splitscreen will allow for four friends to play without the need for a Live connection too.

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