Twist Control: The New Xbox 360 Dashboard

Twist Control is the name of the new Xbox 360 dashboard according to Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live product marketing manager for EMEA. The new dashboard is supposedly coming out later this year.

Due to the massive amounts of content on the Xbox Live Marketplace, nearing 20,000, the new dashboard was necessary to make it look less cluttered and easier to use. Twist will make it easier to browse for this content as well as for games.

“Hopefully the new dash will show this service proposition goes beyond gaming,” said Burrowes. “We’ll never lose our focus on that gaming audience. In fact, developing the investment infrastructure to develop programs like cloud storage and Facebook posting and the beacons, are three examples of continuing to invest in that space."

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Kinectimals Now With Bears Announced -- Polar Bears, Grizzlys And Black Bears Oh My!

Fans of motion-control and adorability are in luck: Kinectimals Now With Bears! has a release date. You'll be able to get your virtual arms around a Panda, Grizzly, Cinnamon Bear, Glacier Bear or Polar Bear beginning on October 11.

In other Kinectimal news, the series is coming to Windows Phone. “Kinectimals” for Widows Phone takes all the fun of  Players can care for and bond with their favorite pet cat or bear cub using touch screen controls to feed, pet, play and nurture them on-the-go.

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Air Band Coming To Kinect Fun Labs

Air Guitar, Air Drums, and Air Keyboard. We've all played them. Millions of songs and trillions of notes have long been banged out on nonexistent instruments, and now someone is making a game out of it. Air Band is the lastest innovation to come to Kinect Fun Labs, and it introduces new Augmented Reality technology to Kinect and places you on stage as the star of your living room with a guitar, drums or keyboard. Air Band will be available in Kinect Fun Labs on August 22, 2011.

You know, as interesting as this looks... why couldn't it have come come out years ago? Now I have a closet full of plastic instruments, and what am I supposed to do with those? With Kinect, you're not only the controller, but you're apparently also the instrument as well. Now hand me my light drumsticks and get the hell out of the way.

Is That An Xbox 360 Slim In Your Pocket...

The July NPD results are out and once again, and hardware sales overall were down 29 percent compared to last year. The Xbox 360 continues to lead the U.S. console market, becoming the top selling console for the fifth month in a row. The Xbox 360 currently holds 45% of the console market share, and sold 277,000 units in July.

In spite of outselling other consoles, it wasn't a banner month for the 360: "As for hardware, following months of huge momentum, Xbox 360 finally saw a year-over-year decline," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “This was the first month that the Xbox 360 saw a year-over-year decline since December 2009.  This is more of a reflection of robust sales last July, which was the biggest month for unit sales of the 360 in 2010 outside the holiday months (November and December). Last year’s sales of the 360 hardware platform were driven by the introduction of the Kinect-ready slim form factor SKU,” Frazier noted.

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Fable: The Journey Inspired In Part By Black & White Creature Relationships

You'd better take out your foes in Fable: The Journey from a distance because you're not going to have a trusty sword to rely on for close combat. Peter Molyneux confirmed as much about the upcoming Kinect game in a recent interview with OXM.

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Nyko Zoom For Kinect -- Everybody Come Together, Try To Love Smaller Play Space Right Now

Hey, small-apartment-havers: Your day is about to get worse. The Nyko Zoom lens, that will allow Kinect play in your tiny hovel, has been delayed until September 13.

The device will change the focal length of the Kinect's camera, cutting Kinect's space requirements by 40%.  According to Nyko, there has been "overwhelming demand from consumers and retailers," so they've increased the initial run of units to ensure that their partners are adequately supplied on launch day. The device will cost $29.99.

Hey, I have an idea, why don't you spend that time moving to a bigger house, buddy?

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DJ Hero

CheapyD at CheapAssGamer.com scours both the online and offline world for the best deals on video games, and to help out your wallets, we're bringing his weekly recap to you!

Best Buy throws in a $50 gift card with an Xbox 360 250GB Kinect bundle and a $25 gift card with the Kinect Sensor.

GameStop drops the DJ Hero turntable, 007 Bloodstone, and 007 Goldeneye to $9.99 each.

Kmart includes a $60 gaming coupon to Rewards members who purchase the Xbox 360 4GB Kinect bundle. Buy the Kinect sensor for and get Micheal Jackson: The Experience free. Buy an 1600 MS points card, get a 3 month XBL card for $12.49; buy a 4000 MS points card, get a 12 month XBL card for $29.99.

Target also offers a $50 gift card with an Xbox 360 250GB Kinect bundle purchase and will throw in a free Move game w/purchase of the Tiger Woods Masters 2012 Move Bundle.

Toys R Us has 2 for $40 promotion on select DS games. Eligible titles include Green Lantern, The Smurfs, Super Scribblenauts, Cars 2, Transformers, and more.

Visit CAG for more details and the rest of this week's Sunday ad deals.

Best of the Rest:
Dragon Quest IV & V $17/$20 at Amazon
Video Game Clearance Sale at Amazon
Singularity (360/PS3) $15.99 at Newegg
Castlevania Lords of Shadow Limited Edition $29.99 at Best Buy

Follow Cheap Ass Gamer on Twitter at videogamedeals and ukgamedeals.

Kinect hacks are all the rage with the kids. Or so I've been told. That's why X-Play went to Levi's Film Workshop in downtown Los Angeles to scope out Eric Medine - known in the art world as MkUltra - and his work with Kinect. While the Xbox 360 accessory might seem more destined to make people dance to mimic cartoons than it is to make Art, Medine is confident in the little gadget's capabilities.

Check out the video below and see what he means!

On Location: Microsoft Kinect Hacking »

I've always found the Kinect pretty cool, mostly because it seems like we're just scratching the surface of what it can be used for. But what are your thoughts?

Oh, and extra points for anyone who noticed the surprise appearances by your favorite writers on the Internet, the incomparable Stephen Johnson and yours truly!

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Avatar Kinect Unveiled During Microsoft CES 2011 Keynote

Avatar Kinect launches worldwide today in Kinect Fun Labs. Avatar Kinect reads your facial expressions and voice, and allows you to "puppeteer" your Live avatar, making your virtual representation talk, smile, frown and/or plot the murder of other avatars.

You can invite up to seven friends to join you in 24 "virtual stages" including the Talk Show Stage, the Performance Stage, and the  Sports Party Stage, then post videos online for your family, friends or fans to "enjoy" on facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. According to Microsoft, the Kinect sensor will record your session with a "producer’s editorial eye, following your performance, zooming and panning, just like a real TV production."

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Speedos To Appear In Video Game. Finally.

Speedos brand banana hammocks are my clothing of choice on casual fridays and for Dana Vinson's upcoming wedding, so when I heard the swimsuit fashion company would appear in a video game, I said "Pip! Pip! Cheerio!" while adjusting myself. Official Speedo suits will cover the bits of players in upcoming Kinect-only swimming game, Michael Phelps: Push the Limit.

Push the Limit stars multiple-medal winning swim-guy Michael Phelps, the most famous underwater hero since Submariner, and the Speedo brand will appear on all swimwear and caps in-game as well as touch pads within all of the pool environments. The game's ultimate swimming battle will take place at "Speedo Stadium," an in-game edifice erected, like the Ghiza Pyramids, to the famous brand of pickle packages. 

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Xbox 360's Zune Marketplace Passed My

Xbox Music, a service we reported on earlier this morning (July 12) courtesy of a story on Business Insider, does not actually exist. Don't worry though, it's not some vast conspiracy by Microsoft. In fact, Big M itself told site VG247 that the reports were "inaccurate," and that future plans for the Xbox 360 console most certainly include the Zune service.

The mix-up apparently came from discussion of new Kinect voice controls, which will open the Zune music front of the revamped Dashboard by saying, "Xbox. Music."

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Burnout Crash

Burnout Crash! for download over the PSN and Xbox Live is bringing back what the latest title in Criterion's flagship racing series, Burnout Paradise, was sorely lacking to some fans: that's right, Crash Mode is back and a big way. In fact, Burnout Crash makes it the sole focus while shifting perspectives and changing up aesthetics. Don't say video games never change or take risks!

"With all the bumping, chain-reactions, and scoring that players enjoyed in Burnout 3: Takedown, it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to equate the experience to certain elements of pinball. Now that Burnout CRASH! takes the top-down view approach, Criterion has taken hold of that analogy. While that description doesn't endear itself to many hardcore fans, the concept holds promise, especially when, like in pinball, you can get caught up in quickly tallying eight-digit scores. The core elements are still here: cause an initial collision, try to get a chain reaction of explosions going, smile widly, repeat."

Burnout 3 was always my favorite in the franchise, and I refuse to let go of my original PS2 copy. You can have it when you pry it from my cold dead hands! Or maybe if you're lucky you can sneak in while I'm playing Burnout Crash! this fall since I'll be too busy to notice. If you're not sure why I'm so excited or want to learn more about this quirky title, be sure to read the full Burnout Crash! first-look preview!

Tim Schafer's video games are funny. And his new family-friendly fare Once Upon A Monster looks to continue that streak. But how did Once Upon A Monster come to be? Was it the first idea Schafer pitched to executives? Get a behind-the-scenes look at how to pitch a video game, courtesy of Schafer and the hilarious team at Double Fine:

Man, I've been there, Tim. Prepare accordingly, aspiring developers! Cookies are an instant win for any office presentation.

Xbox Music Brings 11 Million Song Catalog To Your Console This Fall 

Updated: 6:24PM EST

Microsoft will be launching an Xbox Music service this fall, CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed yesterday at the Microsoft Partner Conference. The new feature, which supports voice search, will presumably tie into the more Kinect-integated Xbox 360 dashboard that debuted at the company's E3 press conference last month.

The news comes from Business Insider, which reports that the content will come from an 11 million song catalog. And hey, look! Here's Microsoft's Mark Winters at CES 2011 talking about Zune Marketplace's 11 million song catalog! Coincidence? No, probably not.

Update: Xbox Music Will Not Replace Zune Service -- Xbox Music Is Dead, Long Live Zune!

Source: Business Insider

Tags: Kinect, Xbox 360

Nyko Zoom For Kinect -- Everybody Come Together, Try To Love Smaller Play Space Right Now

The Nyko Zoom Kinect add-on peripheral may be just the solution to the sadly Kinect-less dorm rooms and tiny apartments across America. While a distance of 6 to 8 feet was previously required for Kinect play, the Zoom is promising a 40 percent reduction of needed space, creating a much more manageable distance of 3.6 to 4.8 feet.

So how does it work? I'm glad you asked, intrepid observer! It uh... well, it's... how to put this... It's a piece of plastic with wide-angle lenses that cover the Kinect's own cameras. And that's pretty much it. It looks nice enough, blending with the Kinect's design, and it also reduces the horizontal space required for two players to play simultaneously.

All in all, it seems legit. Heaven knows how many times I've destroyed a coffee table by cranking that to Soulja Boy on Dance Central, so maybe I'll even pick one up myself. The Nyko Zoom for Kinect comes out August 23, and has a pricetag of $29.99.

Sound like something you want to clip onto your $150 investment from Microsoft? Or is this still not enough to get you waving your hands at a television? Let us know!

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