Microsoft Kinect for more than Games; New Xbox Ships Today

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Update: Microsoft assigned a November 4 release date for its Kinect full body control system today that will control not only games but act as a “hands free” livingroom entertainment system for movies and music. “No headsets, no controllers,” said Microsoft at an E3 presentation. Wave your hands to log onto the system. Move your hand to fast forward or rewind. Watch a movie without a remote control device required. The system also uses voice recognition. Kinect will work with Netflix, Xbox live, Zune and other services. Kinect will also work with Windows Phone 7 and it permits advanced video chat where the camera follows you around the room (no need to point it) and users can watch a movie together. There’s no price yet on Kinect, which will ship with 15 titles including “Kinect Sports” (you run in place to run a race), “Kenectimals”, play with tigers, and other animals, and “Dance Central”—just dance and it shows up in the video, or take virtual lessons.
Microsoft also announced it will begin shipping a new slimmer Xbox 360 starting today at $299 for a 250GB version with 802.11N WiFi.

Microsoft formally named its full body gaming control system “Kinect” on Sunday, just prior to the E3 gaming show that runs Tuesday June 15 -17 in Los Angeles. Microsoft didn’t offer pricing or other details yet, but showed examples of what body control Microsoft-style will entail. In a Circque du Soleil style review, its showed a driving simulation where passengers rock their bodies to toss the car into cartwheels and a Star Wars game with advanced control of a Jedi knight, reported Reuters.
First unveiled at last year’s E3 as Project Natal, Microsoft’s gaming add-on involves three cameras. Kinect is expected to be in stores by this holiday and will range in price from $50 to $200. At E3, Nintendo is also expected to show its 3DS portable game console that does not require glasses and Sony will unveil its version of a gesture-control device (camera-plus-wand) in its Move.
The new devices are expected to help boost the video game industry, which is down 10 percent year-to-date through April with sales of $4.7 during that period, according to the NPD Group. Microsoft says there are about 40 million Xbox owners globally and 23 million paying subscribers to Xbox Live. Kinect could extend the lifespan of Xbox another 4 or 5 years, beefing up the number of Xbox households to 60 to 70 million, according to Wedbush Morgan estimates.
Source: Reuters
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