This is the future of gaming?
So, Kinect was supposed to be this revolutionary new thing that changed the way you think about gaming. Hey, it was supposed to fundamentally change life. Has it? Well, maybe not, but at least we can fail our arms around and chat with virtual avatars.
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Hey, we're not the ones who used the lofty marketing speak back in the days of Kinect development. We're just the ones saying it's kind of that all that revolutionary. But it's still cool. And at least Microsoft continues to improve it.
At his CES keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Kinect's holiday sales shot past company expectations, and everyone continues to work on making it bigger and better.
Upcoming new features to Kinect include the ability to use voice recognition and hand gestures to operate the Netflix app as well as the console's version of Hulu Plus.
And then there's Avatar Kinect, a brand new feature for the motion camera. One of the funnest things to do with Kinect is just wave your hands around and see how the camera's motion detection technology follows your movements. But there's no real avenue to just make your on-screen avatar move around with you, so that's where Avatar Kinect comes in.
Part tech demo and part chatting service, Avatar Kinect will let players converse with one another online, in a virtual environment where each player's avatar interacts with one another. Along with the launch of the new feature, it will also bring the ability to track facial expressions, like when you open your mouth to talk or when you raise your eyebrows.
Avatar Kinect will launch in the spring and will be a "free" service. However, like virtually everything else on the Xbox 360's online platform, you have to subscribe to Xbox Live's monthly or annual fees to be able to use it.