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Xbox 360 Holding 42% U.S. Console Market, Sold 371,000 Units in March; Kinect Support to Skyrim; Neil Davidge Composer for Halo 4

Microsoft Xbox 360 continue to hold the number one spot for the fifteenth consecutive month as the best-selling console in the U.S, posted Jeff Meisner. “Xbox has grown rapidly to become the best-selling Internet-connected entertainment device for TV. Since the entertainment apps on Xbox 360 started rolling out last December, total hours spent on Xbox LIVE globally has grown 30 percent year over year,” Meisner writes.

According to NPD highlights in March include:

  • “Holding 42 percent share of current-generation console sales, Xbox 360 sold 371,000 units in March, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month Xbox 360 has held more than 40 percent of the current-generation console market share.
  • Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in March (hardware, software and accessories) reached $430 million, the most for any console in the U.S. and more than the spend on PS3 and Wii combined.
  • During the month of March, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 U.S. console game titles including: “Mass Effect 3,” “Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City,” “NBA 2K12,” “SSX” and “Major League Baseball 2K12.”,” notes Meisner.

Below is a screenshot from “Mass Effect 3”, one of the top-selling games in March:

Mass Effect 3 top-selling games in March

Also, later this month, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be getting a free update that will include Kinect support. “The Kinect integration will feature 200+ voice commands that can be used throughout the game,” said Microsoft.

Watch the above video for more details or head over to www.elderscrolls.com

Neil Davidge Composer for Halo 4In other Microsoft gaming news, 343 Industries, the Microsoft Studios team behind Halo 4, released two videos to accompany the announcement of new soundtrack of Halo 4, composed by Neil Davidge and his team.

“Music has always been at the heart of what makes Halo so captivating and iconic. With Halo 4, we want to build upon the franchise’s amazing legacy and create a score that captures the awe and wonder of the Halo universe, and reinforces the deeper and more emotionally impactful journey Master Chief will embark on.”

Neil Davidge, Composer for Halo 4

The first shown above is a behind the scenes look at the work to create the soundtrack with a 16 person male tenor/bass choir along with 10 female Bulgarian vocalists and a full 50 piece orchestra.

The second video below is a mix of two of Davidge’s Halo 4 tracks – recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

In addition, Rolling Stone has an exclusive stream of Arrival from the soundtrack and a great interview with Davidge (who is a huge Halo fan) about the work to create the soundtrack.

Microsoft Xbox Art Director Brian Moore on Wednesday said at a Washington Technology Industry Association event at Synapse Product Development in downtown Seattle that the Xbox 360 console was in the “twilight of its years.”

Moore was the art director for two Xbox Kinect games for children, “Kinectimals” and “Kinect Disneyland Adventures,” and spent much of the evening discussing how the Microsoft team worked with British company Frontier to build the games before they even had a Kinect to work with.

Kinect is a motion-sensing device that allows a player to engage with a video game or computer using his or her body, rather than a game controller, keyboard or mouse. Moore said he and his team didn’t even know what the Kinect would be called while they were developing the games. They simply called it by its code name, Natal.

“The Disneyland game was a huge monster effort,” Moore said.

“I think nine months was the same amount of time Walt (Disney) had to build the entire park,” Moore said, joking about the development schedule. He said the company keeps developers on a tight timeline, which can be challenging when coordinating teams between countries.

“When you’re working with a lot of different people it’s important … to have a cohesive vision,” he said. “Art and technology really support design.”

If a game isn’t fun, he said, no one will play it.

When asked about the future of the gaming console, Moore said each console goes through stages, and that the Xbox 360 was coming to its final stage. He would not elaborate on Microsoft’s plans for the future, saying only that it’s fun to watch “science fiction become science fact.”

“The company sees (Kinect) as the way you can interact with computers,” he said. “The future is really bright.”

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