You may have heard the news this morning that Microsoft has a unveiled a new gaming controller on the eve of the E3 expo called Kinect (previously known as Project Natal - event highlights). The new controller tracks the movement of a player(s) via the use of cameras on a TV webcam-like device. It’s pretty ingenious — and I’m sure will drive downstairs apartment neighbors nuts. However, there’s more to Kinect than just gameplay that fits in nicely into the connected home. Kinect also includes the ability for owners to use hand gestures from the couch to signal the console that you want to fast-forward through a video, for example, or navigate through Xbox 360′s interface. You can also say commands: “Xbox PLAY; Xbox STOP; Xbox MUSIC.” In addition, Kinect provides TV video chat functionality with up to four people via Xbox LIVE or MSN Messenger. You can even watch a movie together with friends using Video Kinect!!! In the video below, at 0:59, you get a glimpse of hand gesture media control in action. Updated: Added E3 video from Microsoft’s Kinect demo + specs diagram + official press release.
UPDATE 1: Demos are being shown live right now (11am PT) at http://www.youtube.com/e3. Availability: November 4th with 15 Kinect titles at launch. Also, the new, slimmer, all black $299 Xbox 360 will hit store shelves next week — includes 802.11n, 250GB HDD.
UPDATE 2: E3 demos posted below – enjoy!
UPDATE 3: Leaked pricing shows Kinect will sell for $149.99 (even less when bundled)
E3 Kinect Demos (below)
Kinect for Xbox 360 Sets the Future in Motion — No Controller Required
LOS ANGELES — June 14, 2010 — Get ready to Kinect to fun entertainment for everyone. Microsoft Corp. today capped off a two-day world premiere, complete with celebrities, stunning physical dexterity, and news from a galaxy far, far away, to reveal experiences that will transform living rooms in North America, beginning Nov. 4. Kinect will roll out to the rest of the world thereafter.
Opening with a magical Cirque du Soleil performance on Sunday night attended by Hollywood’s freshest faces, Microsoft gave the transformation of home entertainment a name: Kinect for Xbox 360. Then, kicking off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Xbox 360 today invited the world to dance, hurdle, soar and make furry friends for life — all through the magic of Kinect — no controller required.
“With ‘Kinectimals’ and ‘Kinect Sports,’ ‘Your Shape: Fitness Evolved’ and ‘Dance Central,’ your living room will become a zoo, a stadium, a fitness room or a dance club. You will be in the center of your entertainment, using the best controller ever made — you,” said Kudo Tsunoda, creative director for Microsoft Game Studios.
Microsoft and LucasArts also announced that they will bring Star Wars® to Kinect in 2011. And, sprinkling a little fairy dust on Xbox 360, Disney will bring its magic to Kinect as well.
“Xbox LIVE is about making it simple to find the entertainment you want, with the friends you care about, wherever you are. Kinect is about making that experience more natural and engaging than ever before,” said Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. “Once you experience your movies, music, sports and games with Xbox LIVE and Kinect, you won’t ever want to go back.”
Using Kinect is as simple as stepping in front of the sensor. It recognizes you, responds to your gestures, listens to your voice, and, best of all, it works with every Xbox 360.1
A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action
Declaring “the time for talk is over,” Tsunoda unveiled eight hurdling, running, dancing, driving and soaring Kinect games:
- “Kinectimals” (Frontier Studio, Microsoft Game Studios). A wide-eyed Bengal Tiger cub cocks its head to the side and playfully peers at you. Memories of your first trip to the zoo come rushing back. “Kinectimals” invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Just like real pets, your “Kinectimals” will come running when they hear your voice, respond to commands like “jump,” “roll-over” and “play dead,” and purr with joy when you scratch them behind the ears.
- “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” (Ubisoft). Get the most out of Kinect with “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.” Unlike other games, the proprietary Player Projection technology of “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” puts your body into the game for the ultimate experience. You’ll physically interact with virtual environments in ways you’ve never seen before, and you’ll be captivated by unique and exciting visual effects that respond to your movement and impact. Burn calories your way — choose a personal trainer to help you meet your specific fitness goals, take a yoga or martial arts class, or play fun family-friendly minigames. As you exercise, you’ll receive specific feedback on your every move, thanks to the game’s real-time precise tracking system. You won’t notice how hard you’re working until you see the results!
- “Kinect Joy Ride” (Big Park, Microsoft Game Studios). 3 … 2 … 1 … Go! “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game, will take you and your friends on the ride of your lives — no drivers license required. “Kinect Joy Ride” reinvents driving and Kart racing by adding massive jumps and full body stunts to the classic Kart racing action. With a host of cool features and game modes you can take off for the ride of your life by yourself, or pick up a co-pilot or team up with your friends and family to take on the world.
- “Kinect Sports” (Rare, Microsoft Game Studios). Turn your living room into a world-class stadium, bowling alley, soccer pitch or arena. With “Kinect Sports” you’re not only the star player, you are the controller — through the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360. See a ball? Kick it. Spike it. Even give it a little top spin. “Kinect Sports” features soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, boxing and multiple track and field events.
- “Kinect Adventures” (Microsoft Game Studios). Float in outer space. Experience the thrill of roaring rapids. Tackle mountaintop obstacle courses. And dive into the deep to explore a leaky underwater observatory — all from your living room. With “Kinect Adventures,” you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations.
- “Dance Central” (MTV Games). “Dance Central”™ is the first full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. Completely free from any controller and featuring full-body tracking, the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360 allows you to experience real dance with your friends and family. Whether you’re rehearsing in Break It Down! or owning the stage in Perform It, you’ll be introduced to more than 600 moves in the game and more than 90 dance routines all created by professional choreographers. The game features tracks from an amazing mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B artists including Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and more. Take your moves to the next level while connecting with the music you love!
- Also coming to Kinect this holiday are titles representing the top names in the gaming industry including interactive fitness product “EA SPORTS Active™ 2” (EA SPORTS), “DECA SPORTS FREEDOM” (Hudson Entertainment), “Dance Masters” (Konami), “Adrenalin Misfits” (Konami), “Zumba Fitness”® (Majesco), “Sonic Free Riders”™ (SEGA), “The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout” (THQ), “Motion Sports” (Ubisoft), and “Game Party™: In Motion” (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment). Further exciting Kinect game experiences will be revealed by publishing partners in the near future.
Offering so much more than just games, Kinect for Xbox 360 takes your entertainment to the next level. Beginning November 2010, the Kinect Hub puts your favorite movies, TV programs, music and live sports all in one place — completely controller-free.
Jump right into a movie in instant-on HD in 1080p or your favorite college bowl game by simply saying “Xbox, play,” or browse your entire song library with a wave of a hand. Kinect also creates new ways for friends and family to have fun together.
With Video Kinect2, share a smile with distant friends and family as you open a window into living rooms around the world. Providing entertainment for everyone, with the power of Kinect, the Xbox LIVE experience is more intuitive, social and interactive than ever before.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a premier home entertainment and video game system. This November, with the addition of Kinect Xbox 360 will forever transform social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. Xbox 360 is also home to the best and broadest games as well as the largest on-demand library of music, standard- and high-definition movies, TV shows and digital games, all in one place. The entertainment center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with the leading social network of 25 million Xbox LIVE members to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. More information about Xbox 360 can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
1 175MB of memory required.
2 Xbox LIVE Gold membership required for Video Kinect.
Follow Kinect on Facebook as we tour the world, transforming how people experience games and entertainment. Visit http://www.facebook.com/xbox for more info.
Tags: E3 2010, Kinect, Microsoft, Xbox 360
Filed in: Industry Buzz, Peripherals