Is Xbox the future of both TV and the Internet? As the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced plans to allow people to use the popular gaming console to watch live TV and surf the Web via the search engine Bing, starting this fall.
Of course, you can still play games, too. Microsoft also teased the holiday 2012 arrival of Halo 4 and unveiled a number of new titles for the motion-activated Kinect system. Leading the way is Kinect Star Wars, an all-ages game that requires players to use their whole body to unleash the Force. In more big news, Mass Effect 3 — the hotly anticipated title now due March 6, 2012 — will arrive Kinect-enabled.
Microsoft’s ambitious Xbox efforts come as the traditional powers in the estimated $22 billion videogame market try to keep pace with the explosive growth of non-traditional gaming devices like smartphones, tablets, and social media. (Coming to Facebook this fall: The Sims Social.) Sony revealed a new 3-D display for PlayStation 3 and a $249 handheld, Wi-Fi-enabled gaming device called PS Vita, due later this year. And at press time, Nintendo was expected to announce a successor to its Wii console.