Microsoft SideWinder expands with first-ever keyboard and new X5 Mouse

Microsoft Hardware debuted the new SideWinder X6 Keyboard — the most versatile gaming keyboard on the market with the first-ever switchable key pad that can be attached to the left or right side of the keyboard for ultimate flexibility. To round out the SideWinder line, the Hardware team is also announcing the SideWinder X5 Mouse, a fast, powerful gaming mouse designed to give mainstream gamers a competitive edge.

The switchable key pad makes the SideWinder X6 Keyboard ideal for gaming as well as productivity, as the key pad functions as a standard num pad in normal keyboard mode, but becomes a programmable macro pad in game mode. Complementing the unique versatility of the keyboard are features specifically designed for gaming, including the capacity to store up to 90 macros per game and backlighting that helps users get immersed in the game.

“We know that consumers don’t want to pull out and set up a second keyboard for a gaming session, so we created a device that was perfect for both gaming and regular computer use,” said Kevin Flick, user researcher for Microsoft Hardware. “With the switchable key pad, gamers will have a fantastic, customisable experience whether they’re playing their favorite game or creating Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations.”

Powerful Versatility

The SideWinder X6 Keyboard’s switchable key pad allows gamers to program up to 90 macros per game with the help of a set of dedicated macro keys as well as a fully programmable key pad. With mode switching, gamers can instantly go from Microsoft Office Excel to their favorite game — and place the macro pad on whichever side they prefer for gaming. The X6 also offers the following features to take advantage of its adaptability:

  • Mode switching lets gamers manually toggle the keyboard from standard mode to either of two gaming modes. LEDs show the selected mode.
  • Automatic profile switching detects the application that is running and applies the custom profile.

Designed for Gaming

The SideWinder X6 Keyboard is more than a standard keyboard with a few extra bells and whistles — it was built from the ground up with gamers in mind, to give them an edge up on their competition. To complement its versatility, the keyboard has the following additional features to produce the ultimate gaming package:

  • New Cruise Control feature continues an action without having to hold down the key or keys assigned to the action. Gamers can use Cruise Control with up to four keys at a time.
  • In-game macro record button lets gamers record any sequence of keystrokes — even standard chat messages. Macros are stored on the PC hard drive and can be easily shared.
  • WASD gaming keys, the most commonly used keys for gamers, have front-face lighting for enhanced visibility.
  • Quick-Launch key gives one-touch access to Windows Vista Games Explorer, allowing gamers to quickly see the games in their PC’s game library.

Get Immersed

Gamers enjoy a heightened experience when adsorbed in the gaming world. Research shows many gamers like to dim the lights, and the X6’s two-color adjustable backlighting helps set the mood to achieve total immersion. The red backlighting indicates standard keys that are not programmable, while the amber color indicates custom-programmable macro keys in game mode that can be tuned to the gamers’ preference. The X6 also includes full media keys and volume and backlighting control dials to fine-tune the gaming experience.

SideWinder X5 Mouse

nullMicrosoft also announced the SideWinder X5 Mouse, a fast, powerful gaming mouse designed to give mainstream gamers a competitive edge. The nine-button gaming mouse is designed for handling with vertical side buttons, adjustable sensitivity switching up to 2,000 DPI, five customisable buttons, and a Quick-Launch button that instantly launches the Windows Vista Games Explorer.

SideWinder: It’s Only the Beginning

The SideWinder X6 Keyboard is the first keyboard to join the popular SideWinder family of gaming products. Established in 1995 and revived in 2007, the SideWinder line is known for its top-notch PC gaming peripherals, including mice, game pads, joysticks and steering wheels.

Pricing and Availability

The SideWinder X6 Keyboard and SideWinder X5 Mouse will be widely available in September 2008 for an estimated retail price of R599.00 and R799.00, respectively.The products are available now for pre-sale on and will ship in September when they are widely released. The SideWinder X6 Keyboard and SideWinder X5 Mouse will be backed by a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty from Microsoft Corp. More information about these and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at

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Xbox 360 Games line-up till end of 2008

During this year’s Games Convention at Leipzig, Germany, Xbox 360 presented its forthcoming range of entertainment offerings. The visitors of Europe’s biggest fair for PC- and video games were shown a unique range of titles, and Xbox 360 was once again able to underscore its leadership role in the field of digital entertainment.

Blockbusters for both the whole family and committed gamers – the 2008 lineup

Xbox 360 offers a broad range of entertainment. From now through to Christmas and beyond you can expect a top-class line-up of titles that offer the perfect games for everyone’s taste and interests. The highlights are:

Lips (iNis / Microsoft Game Studios): Exclusively on Xbox 360, Lips will be released in November and offers unique new music features. Lips will come with numerous localised tracks, with new songs by national and international artists being added on a regular basis. But that is only just the start: For Lips is the first game that allows players to sing from their own music collections. Players become stars at every party with the help of the motion sensitive microphones, which reward high-impact performances. Developed by Keiichi Yano of Gitaroo Man fame, Lips takes a totally new approach when developing this music game. Available for Christmas 2008

Fable II (Lionhead Studios / Microsoft Game Studios): Peter Molyneux’ most recent opus is one of the most anticipated games of the year 2008. It will offer an unequalled level of freedom of choice and create a new gaming experience. Every decision has an immediate impact on the fate of the hero and his surrounding world. The game’s role playing experience has also been enriched further by a co-op mode: gamers can play with friends either sitting together on the sofa. The game will be available in Europe from the 24th October.

Too Human (Silicon Knights/ Microsoft Game Studios): With Too Human, fans can expect an epic action game with several RPG elements. A fantastic story, in-depth character design and an extraordinary technical level underlines the reputation that precedes Silicon Knights. After almost ten years of development, the long expected sci-fi-epic will be available from the 29th of August – exclusively for Xbox360.

You’re in the Movies (Codemasters/ Microsoft): Become a movie star with You’re in the Movies: gamers are filmed acting out film roles, from a kung-fu fighter to a zombie using the Xbox Live Vision camera. You’re In The Movies is the first game that allows you to become part of a movie and the result is different every time. Available from November 2008.

Scene It? Box Office Smash (Krome Studios and Screenlife/ Microsoft Games Studios): Scene It? Box Office Smash is the second Xbox 360 instalment of the popular movie quiz. Totally new questions, puzzles and many movie clips in HD quality ensure a party atmosphere. Available from November 2008.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (Rare Ltd./ Microsoft Game Studios): Two of the most popular video games ever are back – exclusively on Xbox 360. From the developers of Rare comes Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, an innovative action adventure. Players are given plenty of material to design their own vehicles, and also get to choose how Banjo and his friend Kazooie overcome obstacles which come their way.

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (Rare Ltd./ Microsoft Game Studios): From early September, players can leave the boundaries of their gardens and discover the whole new world of the Piñatas. In two new regions, the arctic and the desert, new and unknown animals are hiding. Designed by Rare, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is a colourful entertainment experience for the whole family. Up to four players can create their gardens simultaneously or compete in the talent show P-Factor. Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise will be released on the 5th September.

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Command and Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath

Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath features a new strategic layer of gameplay that allows you to establish bases, build customized armies, and attack your enemies on a global scale – and then dive into the frenzied tactical combat where your skills as a commander will be tested to the limits. The game introduces six new sub-factions and a wealth of new units, structures, and powers to the armies of the Global Defense Initiative, the Brotherhood of Nod, and the enigmatic alien Scrin.

Manufacturer: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Spring 2008

Genre: RTS

Modes: Single Player, Local Area Network gameplay, Online Multiplayer

Rating: 16+

Platforms: PC, 360


Nod Campaign Only Campaign – Kane returns as the centerpiece of an epic new single-player campaign. Experience a new story that spans 20 years – from the rebirth of the Brotherhood of Nod after the Second Tiberium War through the dramatic events of the Third Tiberium War and beyond. Facilitate the rise of the Brotherhood leading up to the events of Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars and beyond!

Global Conquest – Fight the Third Tiberium War your way. Take command in an all new global conquest mode. Position your forces on a strategic level and then wage conflict in the fast, fluid, furious, tactical gameplay that Command & Conquer pioneered. Map out your strategies on the planetary level and wage all-out war on the ground. This marks the debut of an RTS meta-game on a console.

Introduction of new Epic-Units – Devastate the battlefield with the immense firepower of all-new Epic-units. Customize your Epic-Units mid-battle via garrisoning different infantry inside turning it into a highly variable killer, not to mention every Epic Unit has its own special abilities like causing all nearby enemy units to start attacking each other.

Play to your strengths with six unique sub-factions, each equipped with their own exclusive units, powers, and upgrades. Utilize the sub-faction of your choice to fully take advantage and compliment your play style.

The 6 new factions are:

GDI Zone Operations Command (ZOCOM)

A whole division of GDI that relies on their sonic technology to push back the growth of Tiberium and its entities. With enhance armor and superior infantry, Zocom can safely engage any enemy in any environment.


  • Strong infantry
  • Splash damage units


  • No Artillery
  • No Railguns

GDI Steel Talons

The old school GDI faction that would risk the safety of their own vehicles for the extra boost in battle. Their old Titan and Wolverine walker units from Tiberium Sun still have quite a kick in them and are feared by their enemies.


  • Many new garrisonable units
  • Powerful vehicle upgrades


  • Limited to basic infantry
  • Very slow vehicles

Nod Black Hand

The Black Hand are a zealous army focused to purify the planet of their enemies.. Their infantry is unstoppable and trained to never back down or surrender.
Their new flame technology and laser weaponry can devastate even the most skilled defender.


  • Best infantry in the game
  • Powerful anti-structure capabilities


  • No air
  • No stealth technology (even on harvesters!)

Nod The Marked of Kane

The Marked of Kane faction is a new breed of army. Cyborgs and superior laser wielding units truly devastate all in their path. Kane has sure picked the most finest and stealthy warriors that have no mercy, new remorse, no pity…


  • Powerful laser equipped units
  • Strong Cyborg infantry


  • Expensive Upgrades
  • Requires intensive micromanagement

Scrin Reaper 17

This maniacal Scrin breed is even feared by their own kind. Their vehicles and infantry are twisted and mutated purely towards power. Their new and Tiberium improved ground forces are a force to reckon with. Watch out for their Reaper Tripod!


  • Superior ground forces
  • Shields everywhere


  • No teleportation
  • Lack of advanced air units

Scrin Traveler 59

The Scrin have some real sinister motives with their new Traveler division. Focusing on abducted human vessels to sneak into the populous and mind control their enemy is only the beginning. Their lightning fast infantry and aircrafts put the meaning of hit-and-run into perspective.


  • Fastest units in-game
  • Mind control times 2!


  • No shields
  • Easily countered

Plus all the factions get new units like the GDI Hammerhead, Nod Reckoner and Scrin Mechapede.

Overall this is the ultimate RTS expansion pack to get and finally finish the Tiberium Wars!

Final Score

Story: 3/5

Gameplay: 5/5

Graphics: 5/5

Originality: 3/5

Total: 80%

”An expansion to one of the best games ever. Awesome.”

Guest review by ~L3g3nd4ry

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