Microsoft is busy announcing a slew of upgrades to Xbox Live, and the biggest news so far is relaunch of the video service, now Zune-branded with 1080p instant-on streaming content in 18 countries.
XBL is also now integrated with Facebook — your Facebook account can be linked to your Gamertag, and games will support Facebook Connect for sharing content online. That’s pretty huge — but if that wasn’t enough, you’re also getting Twitter and Last.fm in the deal.
Want more? Netflix users will now be able to browse the entire catalog instead of simply loading their queue, and Microsoft has also gotten its Party Watch system in order, so you’ll be able to heckle videos with your online friends. Last but not least, there’s now live TV streaming for UK and Ireland gamers, who’ll get Premier League soccer live from Sky. All in all, a solid set of updates for XBL — but we’ll wait and see how that “1080p” video looks before we pronouce Blu-ray dead.
Yes, it’s real. Now you’ll be able to change a tire… virtually. Apparently, the little black bar (which sits underneath your TV) will allow for a super-wide range of actions, involving more than one person at a time.
The demo Microsoft showed off at E3 included a skateboarding demo (replete with a young man “air” ollie-ing), and a family playing a racing game (the dad was changing the tire, daughter driving). The device appears to be codenamed “Natal.” The add-on will be able to auto sign-in players to Xbox Live based on facial recognition, and features extremely detailed body tracking — like being able to follow movements of separate limbs.
The company also demoed a painting app, which lets you use your entire body to handle virtual painting supplies, allowing you to do things like throw buckets of paint onto a canvas. Story is breaking… stay tuned for more.