Microsoft sees no limits to controller-free gaming


MICROSOFT HAS unveiled its new controller-free gaming and a slimmed-down console at a press conference ahead of a major games exhibition in the US.

Formerly known as Project Natal, Kinect for Xbox 360 uses a camera and sensor array to track movement and translates it on screen to control movement and gameplay.

The device was unveiled at a world premiere ahead of the E3 games exhibition, which includes a show by Cirque du Soleil dancers, musicians, acrobats and clowns, and a demonstration of Kinect’s capabilities.

The controller, which was announced at E3 last year, has been widely publicised by Microsoft in recent months. However, the industry was only given an indication of the type of games that would be available for the new device on Sunday. The line-up covered a range of genres, including sports, car racing and dance games.

The company has partnered Ubisoft to bring a fitness game called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved to the console. It also has its own Kinect Sports, similar to the Wii Sports title that has proved popular with casual gamers.

The platform will feature Kinectimals, a virtual pet game. The company also announced it is developing a Star Wars Kinect game with Lucas Arts that will come to the console next year.

The device will also allow users to interact with the Xbox Live platform without having to use a controller. Users will be able to access the media on their Xbox, including music and movies, and navigate through them by simple hand gestures or voice commands.

Chris Lewis, Microsoft’s vice-president of interactive entertainment business for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Kinect would open up new possibilities for gaming.

“It removes the need for a plastic interface,” he said. “It’s easier to jump in and play.”

Kinect will launch in North America on November 4th.

Microsoft and Sony are both showing their new motion sensitive controllers at E3 this year.

Sony’s Move uses a handheld controller and the PlayStation Eye camera. Both firms are hoping to tap into a casual gaming market that Nintendo has already dominated with its Wii console.

Microsoft is not abandoning its core gamer market. The company unveiled several traditional titles that are coming in the next few months, including Halo Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops 7.

Microsoft also unveiled a number of new partnerships, including an exclusive deal that will see Call of Duty add-ons and map packs debut first on Xbox.