Microsoft's Project Natal Becomes Kinect, Gains Video Chat Functionality

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News Posted: Mon, Jun 14 2010 10:31 AM
The world has known that Microsoft was bringing a motion control systemto market for months and months now. We've heard it referred to as"Project Natal" for as long as we can remember, and we were assumingthat the company would simply retain the name after all of this time. Weshould have known better. As E3 begins in California this morning,Microsoft is making that motion system official, and it will go by thename "Kinect." It's impossible to see this name and not think of the Kin, a new feature phone line recently launched by none other thanMicrosoft. Whether or not the two are connected remains a mystery, butit's hard to imagine that this is a pure coincidence.


The company debuted Kinect in an unusual way: by integrating it into aperformance by Cirque Du Soleil at USC. The Xbox 360 add-on will give afresh take on a 4-year old console, with a built-in camera andmicrophone enabling gamers to actually act out movements in front oftheir TV and have their on-screen character react accordingly. A numberof launch titles were also introduced, and while most of them are rathersimply titles (much like Wii Sports was), there is a report that StarWars will eventually launch a Kinect-enabled game.


Details on pricing are short, but we're hearing that a November releasedate is all but certain. That makes perfect sense given the upcomingholiday season, but it's still a long, long time from now. Anotherunique aspect that wasn't revealed until today, however, is Video Chat.It's hard to say how many people will actually want to stand in front oftheir televisions to chat, but at least it will be an option.
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Awww, I like the name Natal much better. You've always seen little demos of this thing being used, but it still has me skeptical of its full capabilities. From what I saw a year ago, playing games on this thing was very basic, and not complex at all.

But that was a year ago, and I guess we'll wait and see what Microsoft has in store at their press conference at E3.

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Jun 15 2010 10:52 AM

One thing truly annoying about the name, it sound too much like an upgrade of those Kin phones on Verizon.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jun 17 2010 7:38 PM

That totally escaped my notice before, but I think you're onto something DD: Microsoft's good at co-branding to spur crossover sales.

Still... this thing looks pretty silly to me. It's the functional equivalent of a few Wii controllers with no buttons. Expect a couple of dozen games at launch, another dozen games next year, and then for everyone to forget about this thing.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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digitaldd replied on Fri, Jun 18 2010 9:30 AM

3vi1:

That totally escaped my notice before, but I think you're onto something DD: Microsoft's good at co-branding to spur crossover sales.

Still... this thing looks pretty silly to me. It's the functional equivalent of a few Wii controllers with no buttons. Expect a couple of dozen games at launch, another dozen games next year, and then for everyone to forget about this thing.

 

I see a whole slew of Pad-less Dance Dance Revolution clones coming. And home contractors getting some extra work to make the kids rooms that have no carpeting which could be noisy for parents with their kids jumping up/down on wooden floors or linoleum.  ;)

 

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