Microsoft Kinect Motion Sensor Launches November 4

Kinect

Microsoft took the wraps off Kinect (nee Project Natal) at E3 2010, promising an experience that will "bring living rooms to life in a social and accessible way."

The much-anticipated gaming technologyfrom Microsoft will launch on November 4. Pricing was not announced.

To the thumping sounds of techno music, the company trotted out actors who leapt, lunged, and waved their arms in the air, demonstrating various sports and fitness-themed applications.

We've known about Natal for at least a year now, but today's event was all about rebranding the product as a family-friendly (and centric) tool, aimed at uniting all stripes of gamers, hardcore to casual. The

After rolling footage for fan favorites like Metal Gear Solid Rising ("It's unlike anything you've ever seen"), Gears of War 3 (Marcus Fenix and friends battle giant squid-like creatures), Fable III ("It's a revolution!"), and Halo: Reach (Halo meets spaceship battles), the presentation turned to all things Kinect.

"Imagine a world where you can watch a movie without a remote, play a game without a controller," said Microsoft Games corporate vice president Marc Whitten. "Imagine that living room is smarter... Imagine that finding content on your TV is so simple, everyone can do it."

Kinect Hub and VideoKinect

The first demo involved Kinect Hub, a way to find friends, games, and other content like Netflix, Facebook, and Last.fm in one place--no controller required. Think Minority Report (Tom Cruise waving his hands to move or select items) with the noteworthy addition of voice recognition. The Microsoft rep demoing this feature said things like "Xbox pause" and "Xbox Play" to stop and start media, and Kinect responded instantly. No pauses, lags, or glitches--at least so far as the demo was concerned.

VideoKinect was next, a video chat interface that capitalized on Microsoft's integration of Xbox LIVE and Windows Messenger to let you dial up friends and chat in realtime. Again, the video quality and performance appeared seamless, even when Microsoft showed how you could select a movie, launch it, and proceed to watch it simultaneous with your video chat connection.

Nodding to sports fans, Microsoft rolled out a Kinect-based ESPN interface with commentators Josh Elliott and Trey Wingo. The two showed how users could use voice commands to access DVR-like pause and replay features, at one point joking that "Kinect is going to make taunting that much easier." Additional features included accessing ESPN game scores, video statistics, real-time polls, and sports trivia, all without leaving the video feed of the game itself.

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