To appeal to families ready to graduate from the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Corp. wants to build on the success of the Wii’s motion-capture wand—by getting rid of the wand entirely.
Freehand: A girl shows off the Xbox Kinect. AP
On Monday, Microsoft detailed its new Kinect game technology, coming this fall for the Xbox 360 game console. Once known as Project Natal, the Kinect system recognizes users’ gestures and voices, so you can control on-screen avatars in racing, action and sports games just by moving your body. Microsoft showed off a Star Wars game, coming in 2011, that will use Kinect to let players swing virtual lightsabers from their living rooms.
Kinect’s voice feature also means you can say “pause” or “play” when watching a movie on the Xbox, instead of reaching for the remote. Its video chat function can connect people across the country, as Microsoft demonstrated on Monday at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, a video game conference of 45,000 industry insiders.
Kinect will launch on 4 November in North America, Microsoft said. Prices were not disclosed, and it’s not clear whether Kinect will come with new Xboxes or only be sold separately. The technology does work with existing systems, though, including a new smaller, sleeker version of the Xbox console—with built-in Wi-Fi and 250GB hard drive—that goes on sale in the US next week for $299, or Rs13,960 (which previously got you half the drive capacity).