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Microsoft unveils Kinect (formerly Project Natal)

Microsoft’s controller-free gaming and entertainment project has a new name – Kinect. Previously dubbed ‘Project Natal’, Kinect was first unveiled last year at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) amidst much fanfare, promising to use the human body to control living room entertainment. The vision is finally a reality, and Microsoft and Cirque du Soleil held the Kinect world premiere before the gaming press and entertainment celebrities in a closed door affair on the eve of E3 at the Galen Center, Los Angeles.

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The venue was transformed into a lush forest – complete with drum beats, meteorite touch-downs, rotating living rooms, and even a puppet elephant! There will be a broadcast special on MTV (the web is our friend here in India) on Wednesday, June 16 at 1:00 am IST and again at 6:30 am IST.

Microsoft followed up the unveiling with their regular E3 press conference on June 14, showcasing more Kinect and controller-free gaming and entertainment. Kinect hits stores just before the holiday season on November 4. Six games were unveiled with more in store. Control animal pets (Kinectimals), play sports (Kinect Sports), drive karts and race cars (Joyride), hit the dance floor (Dance Central from Harmonix), enjoy adventuring (Kinect Adventures), and even fitness (Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved) in a variety of games targeted at wholesome family entertainment. Kinect will also provide unprecedented control over the Xbox 360, going further than gestures. You can even use just voice to interact with Zune media, video chat, share videos, and take entertainment to the next level.

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Microsoft’s Kinect is competing directly against Sony’s Playstation Move and Nintendo Wii in the motion control entertainment space. While the Wii has enjoyed multiple years as industry leader thanks to dishing out wholesome family fun, Microsoft looks all set to challenge the first spot this holiday season. We look forward eagerly to what Sony’s response will be later tonight.

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