Code-named Project Natal for the past year, the controller-free gaming system for the Xbox 360 console was officially dubbed Kinect before Microsoft went on to give the audience Cirque du Soleil performance inspired by Natal technology at the E3 expo in Los Angeles last night.
Unlike the particular emphasis on the "look ma, no controller" angle at last year’s E3, where plenty of demos were carried out with the Ricochet alley-ball game, Microsoft was keen to show that Kinect not only senses your body but used facial-recognition technology and responds to voice commands, too.
Continuing on with its "you are the controller" tagline, Microsoft’s Mike Delman, corporate vice-president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business, said: "You simply step in front of the sensor and Kinect sees you move, hears your voice and recognises your face."
Microsoft was keen to demonstrate Kinect’s strengths but did not reveal either the release date or the pricing for the Xbox 360 peripheral. These details will be announced later today at a new conference that will officially mark the start of E3 2010.
"It’s an amazing year just when you look at the things people are expecting," said Marc Whitten, corporate vice-president of Xbox Live.
"But we’re excited to also be announcing ways that make it simpler for everyone to enjoy the things we do. People who are intimidated by a controller or game pad will finally get to unlock some of the experiences that are possible in the living room, gaming and non-gaming alike."