Kinect is coming to your car

If you thought cell phones were a drive time distraction, just wait until people are trying to play Kinectimals during rush hour.

A want-ad placed by Microsoft’s Connected Car team indicates that the company is investigating ways to include Kinect’s motion-sensing technology into vehicles as it strives to become a player in the “smart car” field.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Microsoft makes $99 Xbox 360 official – with a few catches

After a week of speculation, Microsoft has formally announced plans to offer a subscription-based Xbox 360/Kinect bundle requiring a two-year paid commitment.

Customers will pay $99 for a 4 GB Xbox 360 and Kinect up front, then will pay $15 per month for the next two years. They’ll enjoy an Xbox Live Gold subscription during that time period, but no additional functionality in the service.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Microsoft Takes Kinect To The Business World

Microsoft is planning to launch a commercial program for Kinect early next year, giving businesses the tools to develop customized applications. The company talks to Gamasutra’s Chris Morris about Kinect’s move into the business world.

Having established a strong foothold in the home market, Kinect is ready to branch into the corporate world.

Microsoft plans to launch a commercial program for the peripheral early next year, giving businesses the tools to develop customized applications for their companies and industries. The pilot program already includes such familiar names as Toyota, book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and design firm Razorfish.

Read more at Gamasutra

Game Review: Dance Central 2

Even if you have the grace of a spastic camel, you can’t help but have fun with Dance Central 2. The game is forgiving for beginners, challenging for experts, and features a terrific lineup of songs (ranging from Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber to Usher to Sir Mix-a-lot). This year’s inclusion of co-op and multiplayer challenge modes adds more depth to the game and is guaranteed to make it more of a party standard.

The game introduces plenty of new moves and is loaded with 44 new songs. Players of the original game can import that game’s original 32 songs in as well for 400 Microsoft points (about $5). The original Dance Central was a must-have game last year. This sequel is miles ahead of its predecessor — and could well be the best Kinect game on the market.

Read more at Common Sense Media

Is Microsoft’s Kinect Kids Program Coming Too Late?

Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris considers if Microsoft “might be making its move a little too late to corral the kiddie audience” with its recent unveiling of kid-friendly Kinect partnerships.

The introduction of the Kinect For Kids initiative certainly sounds wise, given the company’s push in that direction. After all, who can argue with creating family-friendly titles with some of the biggest names in family entertainment?

The problem is: When you look at Microsoft’s longer-term goals, things become a bit squishier.

Read more at Gamasutra

Microsoft’s interactive Kinect ads: You are the commercial

Given the breakout success of Microsoft’s Kinect voice and motion controller, it was only a matter of time before the ad weasels took an interest in the platform.

On Tuesday, Microsoft introduced NUads, which allows viewers to interact with ads in games, videos and the Xbox Dashboard via their Kinect controller.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Xbox factor

Microsoft is closer to turning Xbox into the everything box.

Sticking with a strategy to promote the Xbox 360 console as more than just a videogame player, Microsoft used its pre-E3 presser on Monday to reveal that the device will start offering live TV in the U.S. and integrate YouTube and search engine Bing as part of a relaunch this fall.

(Co-written with Marc Graser)

Read more at Daily Variety