Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi and Nancy Tellem at the D: Dive into Media conference, revealed some momentum building around Xbox entertainment growth and strategy.
"We believe that Xbox is being used by more people in the household, during more hours in the day and for more forms of entertainment. People are using Xbox in the morning to work out with the Kinect Nike+ Fitness program, kids are watching cartoons, families are enjoying movies, and of course people are playing blockbuster games like 'Halo 4'," Mehdi stated.
At the session, Mehdi revealed some new data that illustrate how entertainment usage on the Xbox has exploded during its living room transformation:
- "Microsoft has now sold 76 million Xbox 360 consoles and 24 million Kinect sensors
- Xbox Live community grew 15 percent in the last year to 46 million members
- Xbox users consumed more than 18 billion hours of entertainment in 2012, with entertainment app usage growing 57 percent year over year globally
- Xbox LIVE Gold members averaged 87 hours per month on Xbox, "an increase of 10 percent year over year"
- And, that there are over 100 custom, voice-controlled TV and entertainment apps on Xbox LIVE," informs Mehdi.
Also during the session, Tellem shared more details about her newly created Los Angeles-based Xbox Entertainment Studios.
"We want to partner with the industry to bring entertainment into a new era," she says. "It's an era when interactive entertainment becomes the greatest form of all entertainment - and we couldn't be more excited to play a part in it."
Microsoft hopes to launch over 40 new voice-controlled apps, as well as customized TV and entertainment apps on the Xbox platform this year alone.
In other releated news, the specifications of the next generation Xbox entertainment console (Xbox Next, or Xbox 720), codenamed Durango, revealed today will come with "a 500GB hard drive that will be used mostly for games.
Additionally, it will be "an 8-code, 64bit CPU running at 1.6GHz, 800mhz Direct X 11 graphics card, 8GB of DDR3 memory, 500GB hard drive with read speeds of up to 50 MB/sec, HDMI or S/PDIF (optical) connections, and can support up to 7.1 channels," revealed through the technical specifications of Durango development kits.
The new Controller will be a "natural evolution" of the Xbox 360 and feature an identical layout but feature a "new wireless technology." And, the new Kinect will be "mandatory" now.
On top of that, every Kinect will ship with a new Xbox console and must be plugged in and calibrated for the Xbox to work. The new version of the Kinect sensor can also track up to six people in the same room, capable of tracking thumbs, seeing if your hand is open or closed, and even reading your facial expression to see if you are angry or excited. The Kinect also features an improved wide viewing angle," reports Kotaku.
Games will be installed immediately upon first insertion of the disc and installation can take place automatically, even while you play a game. Game installations will also be mandatory. Games can even be suspended or constrained which allows you to switch to another game, then return to the first game without losing your place.