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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 19, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

    E3: Microsoft unveils Kinect/Natal

    Ciara O'Brien

    The main focus of Microsoft at E3 was Kinect for Xbox 360. This is is the new name for Project Natal, the console’s answer controller-free gaming.

    The controller works by using an array of cameras and microphones to determine your position, track your movement and relay it back to the console where it will translate your movement on to the screen. This means you can use a gesture-based interface for playing games, and you essentially become the controller.

    Microsoft showed of Kinect at an event last Sunday night. They drafted in Cirque du Soleil performers for the night, made us wear some white ponchos (yes we did feel a bit daft) and showed us a taste of exactly what Kinect could do.

    The summary: great for sports and family-type games. Kinect will work with Ubisoft’s Your Shape game, and there is a family friendly sports game on the console too. It also has something called Kinectimals, a virtual pet you can keep on your console and trot him out every so often to play with and entertain. It’s been described as a massive tamigotchi, and I suppose that’s fairly accurate.

    The really interesting thing is that you can also use Kinect to interact with the media on your console. So that means fastforwarding through films, navigating sounds files and playing back TV shows – all through voice or movement.

    Microsoft also unveiled a brand new Xbox, slimmer, quieter and with a higher capacity than it predecessor.

    The games maker showed it off at its press conference at the Wiltern in LA last week, and then announced that not only was it shipping immediately, but that those who attended the conference would be getting a new console.

    New games on the Xbox include Call of Duty: Black ops – with an exclusive deal that maps and add-ons for the console will appear first on Xbox 360. Gears of War 3 was also shown off, as was Metal Gear Solid Rising and Halo Reach. There’s also a rake of third-party games such as EA Sports Active 2, a preview of Forza Motorsport, and a dance game for Kinect called Dance central. Which looks like great fun but one to be attempted only in the comfort of your own home.