Let’s start with the coolest bit of news straight from Redmond. Microsoft is pushing out a Star Wars-themed Xbox 360 bundle to celebrate to release of Star Wars Kinect. The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars bundle includes an R2-D2-themed Xbox 360 console with custom sounds, a C-3PO-themed golden wireless controller, a white Kinect sensor, a 320GB HDD, a wired headset, and copies of Star Wars Kinect and Kinect Adventures. The bundle’s price: $449.99. It’s available for preorder today, comes out this fall.
Next up is the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset with Bluetooth. The sleek new headset connects to the Xbox through the console’s standard radio frequencies, and since it packs Bluetooth functionality it can double as a regular old BT headset and pair with your mobile phone and computer. The communication device goes on sale early November 2011 and will cost $59.99. Jump after the break to watch Major Nelson give a quick tour of the packaging.
Also announced was the Xbox 360 Media Remote. Media playback controls include play/pause, skip forward, fast forward, skip back, fast back, and display to control DVD, CD, or streamed media. The TV controls include power on/off, volume up/down, mute and TV input. The Xbox 360 Media Remote’s menu navigation controls include A, B, X, Y buttons, D-pad navigation, back and select. Live TV, if provided on the Xbox 360 by your TV service provider, can also be controlled with the remote. It’ll cost $19.99 when it comes out alongside the wireless headset this November.
And last, but certainly not least, is Avatar Kinect. Explains Microsoft: “Avatar Kinect is a new social entertainment experience that brings your avatar to life. Avatar Kinect captures your facial expressions and voice so when you smile, nod or speak, your avatar does the same. Invite up to seven friends to join you in 24 imaginative virtual stages – discuss the latest celebrity gossip or news on the Talk Show Stage, try out your hysterical comedy routine on the Performance Stage, or wager who will win the big game in the Sports Party Stage.” The experience gets even more social as the Kinect sensor can record your sessions and you can upload them to KinectShare.com, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. After the break you’ll find a short video demonstrating the software’s abilities.
Also out is Kinect Sparkler, a fun Kinectified app that “transforms simple finger painting into an aerial light show” using advanced finger tracking. Kinect Avatar and Kinect Sparkler are out now; the former is free to all Xbox LIVE Gold members (it is unlocked for all Xbox LIVE members (Free or Gold) to enjoy from 7/25 to 9/8) and the latter costs 240 Microsoft Points. Both can be found in Kinect Fun Labs section in Xbox LIVE.
Is that minuscule Bluetooth headset Sony outed in November not good enough for you? Sony has invented a heavier duty headset for the audiophile living in all of us. The official PS3 Wireless Stereo Headset features 7.1 virtual surround sound that “lets you hear all the minor in-game audio clues clearly” and was “designed with comfort in mind for hours of gameplay.” The cans, which also feature a retractable mic, connect to the console via the included USB Wireless Adapter. Volume controls and microphone mute are easily accessible on the headset itself, and gamers will see “on-screen headset status updates” that provide battery status. The headset goes on sale this September for a cool $99.99.
What you’re looking at here is the newly redesigned Bluetooth headset for PlayStation 3 users. It’s glossy, sleek, and 30% more compact than its original counterpart which debuted in 2008. Hungry for specs? It offers a dual-microphone design, automatic pairing via USB cable, in-game headset status indicator, an easily accessible microphone mute button, a charging cradle which also functions as a desktop microphone, a special High Quality mode that promises “crystal clear voice chat” during gaming sessions, and built-in noise cancellation. It also packs three-way calling and call waiting support if you feel like pairing it with a mobile phone; its got six hours of talk time, so it’s definitely a viable cell phone companion. All this can be yours for the same price of the original model–$49.99. It will release sometime this month.