Microsoft has teamed up with Sesame Street, National Geographic and Disney to offer interactive educational stories and child-friendly games for the Kinect motion sensor.
Sesame Street is filming a season of interactive shows called Kinect Sesame Street TV, with content written specifically for the motion sensor.
Parents and children can use the Kinect to get involved with the onscreen activities, working with the Sesame Street characters to complete tasks using body motions and voice recognition.
They will also be able to access clips from the Sesame Street archive through the Xbox 360.
“Sesame Workshop and Microsoft are committed to producing rich, engaging content in a new media platform for children who will have positive educational experiences,” said Rosemarie Truglio, vice-president Education and Research, Sesame Workshop.
“This partnership is an opportunity to combine the interactive platform of Kinect with Sesame Workshop’s 42 years of innovative and research-based approaches to educational content. This new media experience allows for meaningful learning — leveraging kids’ gross motor abilities by creating exciting, gesture-based movements that allow them to connect with our characters and content.”
The Sesame Street Workshop Curriculum Team and Microsoft have also designed ‘Project Columbia,’ which encourages a love of books for children. The portal lets children interact with words and illustrations to immerse themselves into the story with the Kinect.
National Geographic will also integrate its Nat Geo WILD programming with Kinect interactivity, letting children explore the natural world through the Kinect.
Along with this, Microsoft has partnered with the New York University-based Games for Learning Institute, which will determine the best ways the Kinect can be optimised to offer fun and educational experiences.
Microsoft Studios will also extend its collaboration with Disney to continue to release Kinect games for the Xbox 360.
It announced a new game, code-named Rush, which will let children scan themselves into five Pixar worlds to play alongside characters from movies such as Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up and Cars. It will arrive in spring 2012.
Separately, game developer Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions will create Happy Action Theatre, a collection of 18 child-friendly mini games using the Kinect.