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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Microsoft Releases New Xbox 360 Bundle, Brings Amazon Instant Video On Board

Microsoft today announced the Xbox 360 250GB 'Racing Bundle', available at in mid-June, for a MSRP of US $299. The company also brings an Amazon Instant Video app to its Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers and is getting ready for next week's E3 game show.

For $299, the new Xbox 360 bundle includes a 250 GB Xbox 360 console, Microsoft's Forza Motorsport 4 game and a Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel. The, and Microsoft also today introduced a new Amazon Instant Video app for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers. Besides giving subscribers access to movies and TV episodes on their Xbox 360 console, the app also offers access to Prime Instant Video, a service with more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes available to Amazon's Prime members at no additional cost. Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers can find the free Amazon Instant Video app in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360.

The Amazon Instant Video app for Xbox 360 includes the ability to browse and play videos with the Xbox 360 remote control or Kinect voice and gesture commands, instant streaming of high-definition movies and TV episodes and allows users to create a list of things they want to watch and also switch from one device to another. Users can start streaming a movie on Kindle Fire, then pick up right where they left off on their Xbox 360 console and avoid the frustration of having to find their spot. Users can also access their purchases from Amazon Instant Video on the Xbox 360 or any of other devices enabled for Amazon Instant Video.

Microsoft is also getting ready for the upcoming E3 game show held in Los Angeles in June 4, teasing us with some information. At the company's official blog, Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi today outlined the future of Xbox.

"This year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft," says Mehdi, revealing that the company has sold 67 million consoles and generated more than $56 billion at retail.

The promise of Xbox as the entertainment service for Microsoft will come in different ways according to Medhi. "Xbox will go beyond the box to reach all new families of devices," he says. "Whether on your PC, tablet, TV or phone, Xbox will be a gateway to the best in music and video, your favorite games and instant access to your friends."

Mehdi adds that Windows 8 will be an additional way for Xbox content to reach everyone, but he also admits that Microsoft understands entertainment is a multi-screen experience and has ideas for making entertainment more personal, interactive, and social "across the devices you love."

"We've got ideas for making all the entertainment you love more personal, interactive and social across the devices you love - and on the phenomenal Windows 8 devices that are to come," he says.

He does not clarify thether whether this "multi-screen experience" will translate to a true cross-platform music and movie service remains to be seen.

"You'll see the first of that next week at E3 where we will showcase the very best of Xbox, "he says. "We'll unveil new games, show new ways to enjoy the entertainment you love and, as always, we'll have a few surprises to share."

These "surpises" could include the "Woodstock" Xbox music service, designed to work in the browser and across platforms, but for more, we'll have to wait until next week.

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