Kinect: video game gamechanger or just a misspelled word?
Logo from an Xbox start-up screen
We've been hearing about Microsoft's Project Natal for about a year now. The idea is to have a video game controller without the controller itself. Cameras are set up that monitor your body so you're free to participate in the game without pushing any buttons. If you're running track, really run. If the game wants you to pick something up, reach out into near space and pretend to do so. It's a neat concept but many of us have been wondering how it would actually work in the real world. Monday, Microsoft brought the reality incrementally closer as they presented the project, now renamed Kinect for Xbox 360, and demonstrated several games that will be available when it launches on November 4th.
Beyond the Kinect demo, they also announced that ESPN will carry live sports over the Xbox 360 and that the Zune music and movie service will be available on that unit to work with Kinect as well. To cap things off, they also presented a new Xbox 360 that's smaller and has more memory.
We talk to Dean Takahashi from the floor of the conference to get his reaction. Dean writes about gaming for Venture Beat and has written two books about the Xbox. We also check in with Chris Klug from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center about what Kinect might mean for gamers and non-gamers alike.
And we hear about the most annoying iPhone app ever: Vuvuzela.