Microsoft introduces 'Kinect,' debuts souped-up Xbox
Microsoft has introduced its answer to the Nintendo Wii's gesture-based controls, an Xbox 360 add-on called Kinect that doesn't even require a remote.
Instead, the upcoming Kinect -- called Project Natal in such earlier demonstrations as its brief turn in the spotlight at January's Consumer Electronics Show -- uses an image sensor to track your movements, then translates that into motion on the screen.
A video on Microsoft's Web site shows how this can work: Two parents run and jump in place to guide their onscreen avatars down a running track and over sets of hurdles; their children dance in front of the TV to control their characters in a music video game; a father holds up one hand and moves it to the right to skip to the next segment in a video episode.
Kinext will ship in the United States on Nov. 4 at a price to be named, with Kinect-enabled games coming from such publishers as EA Sports, Konami, Microsoft's own Microsoft Game Studios, MTV Games and UbiSoft -- plus, later on, Disney and LucasArts.
To go with those announcements, which opened the annual E3 games conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft also debuted a smaller, quieter Xbox 360 model, with a 250-gigabyte hard drive and built-in WiFi, that will sell for $299.99 starting this week. Xbox owners with an Xbox Live Gold account will also be able to tune into ESPN content through their consoles -- but they'll only be able to watch games on ESPN3.com if they use an Internet provider that offers access to that video site.
I realize that the Kinect video demo may be giggle-inducing. But then again, people also giggled at Nintendo's "Wii" moniker -- along with the entire idea of emphasizing simple, no-combo-button-press-memorization-required gaming. And look how well that turned out. So tell me, what's your take on Kinect?
June 14, 2010; 6:09 PM ET
Categories: Digital culture , Games , Video
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