Avatar Kinect launched

Microsoft's facial-expression-capturing Xbox 360 add-on arrives free for all Xbox Live users for a limited time; Kinect Sparkler confirmed for July 28 debut.

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Xbox 360 avatars just got a little more animated. Microsoft today launched Avatar Kinect, a new chat service that relies on the system's motion-sensing camera peripheral.

Now Kinect users have a reason to smile for the camera.

Avatar Kinect lets up to seven users congregate in virtual chat rooms as their Xbox 360 avatars. The Kinect tracks the users' movements--from nodding heads to raising eyebrows--and maps them to their digital counterparts. The application also lets users set their chats against two dozen different backdrops, as well as record and edit video clips of the conversations to share with others.

Until September 8, Avatar Kinect will be free for all Xbox Live users. After that, only Gold subscribers will be given complimentary access to the service.

Microsoft also dated another Kinect utility today, revealing that Kinect Sparkler would launch July 28. The digital toy lets players use their fingers as virtual sparklers, painting a canvas with multicolored fireworks in three dimensions. Like Avatar Kinect, Kinect Sparkler will also have a means to save and share creations with others. When it launches, Kinect Sparkler will sell for 240 Microsoft points ($3).

Discussion

99 comments
gamekingpin
gamekingpin

does not seem to matter since my kinect does not work after the recent system update!!!!!

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@Frame_Dragger No. You're talking about context and anecdote so I don't understand why this is hard to get. On the subject of the kinect, my point is that it receives a lot of unwarranted hate because it doesn't cater to certain groups of people who automatically assume it's dumb and make it a point to rub it into everyone's face that it is dumb in their mind. My point is that maybe you didn't mean any harm but you didn't contribute anything or differentiate yourself from that specific group. Until after the fact, obviously. Had you been like "I didn't mean any harm by it", I would've apologized. But what do you do? "Want a fight, tough guy, let's do this" so I can't say I have any reason to be courteous with you or offer the benefit of the doubt. I like the kinect even though it doesn't cater to me. I see possibility, not just for Microsoft but to gaming as a whole. Potential. But in my eyes a lot of people refuse to even give it a chance because there aren't any games that cater to them yet.

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

It's a good addition to kinect, but still there isn't a really good game for kinect yet, and they will make you pay for this new addition so i think it isn't enough to get me to spend my money.

xboxfanonly
xboxfanonly

@Phatjam98 yup, i thought star wars would be fun too, but then when they showed gameplay it looked realy laggy. im just hoping that ms does not literaly stick too, "you are the controler", and make some sort of control that works with kinect. im thinking basicly, a joy stick control so that you can move around in action games. anyways, unlike starwars, the kinect features on ghost recon looks flawless. I kinda like these extra optional features for core games.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

zidan4000 if you said Playstation Home is lame... then look at the PShome universe, crowded with good looking avatars

TerrorformZero
TerrorformZero

Kinect is a great addition to the console if you have kids or a family and friends that like to hang out together. I have more fun watching my family act a fool than the screen itself. It's good times...

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

@xboxfanonly Well at least you are honest about not reading the full article LOL. And StarWars Kinect looks like a ton of fun, as does the Gunstringer. But I'm really looking forward to Mass Effect 3 with Kinect.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

xboxfanonly
xboxfanonly

what if my avatar has a spartan helmet?

xboxfanonly
xboxfanonly

@Phatjam98 oh...well, i only read the title. Last time i checked, titles are the overal summery of an artical, but i can care less. Its just more stupid kinect crap, that even thuogh i am a gold member, i wont be using. im thinking that the time that i will bother using kinect, will be with ghost recon fs. edit: im a XBOXfanonly not kinectfanonly

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@Frame_Dragger It's funny. I just get done telling you I'm not trying to pick a fight and there you are getting all defensive, eager to fight back. There's no reason to be coy, Drag. I understand perfectly fine what you're trying to say and in a logical, reasonable world where 2+2 is 4 it'd be common sense but we have two problems - 1.) common sense isn't common and 2.) the internet is unreasonable and illogical. So you can save your breath; it's only being wasted because the norm in these parts is that anecdotal evidence is apparently more than enough because every Tom. . Richard, and Hairy uses it. Now maybe you didn't know that. Maybe you are naive, I don't know. Maybe you didn't mean anything by it but when what you say pretty much the same thing as everyone else who IS lashing out unreasonably at it? I'm not going to sit down with each person and figure out who's making a casual remark and who's being a d-bag with a thinly veiled attempt to discredit and insult the kinect or just about everything else. All that could be taken from your remark is that you can't understand it's success, you know no one who likes it, and that you can't give two damns worth of anything for it. Which is fine, I respect that. You don't have to like it but coming to an article about the kinect to express your puzzlement and disinterest in it is fishy when most people who do that are only looking for trouble and nothing else. There's no dialogue to be had there.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@zidan4000 Realistically? No, it has lost all significance or meaning not unlike the words "overrated" and "flop" which have been abused and skewed. Even "skill", "tactics" and "strategy" have been butchered by overuse and missuse. Kind of like "extreme" and "amazing".

zidan4000
zidan4000

@AncientDozer the problem here is the definition of hardcore , what are hardcore games and who are the hardcore gamers , the problem is that everyone think that they are "hardcore" but they don't even know what hardcore means , does playing games on the latest pc specs make me hardcore? or does playing hard games on old school consoles is what makes me hardcore? or merely pwning n00bz at CoD or BF is what makes me hardcore? it is complicated and it is a term that we use a lot and we don't even know what it means ,does it even have a meaning?

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@Lazerith91 Exactly. I can respect that people don't like the kinect, but oozing with this much hate and rage for something they probably haven't tried? That's too much. They seem hellbent on trying to get it emoved but they should realize that it's already proven highly successful and it is captivating hearts and minds. Either jumpon board and at least try and help it cater to the hardcore r hush and go play something else. No sense in trashing something you haven't played and won't ever play.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@rcooper1 Except it isn't. How quick people forget that there are millions out there willing to pay $15 for a 4 map map pack. Millions ready to spend $30 on a recolored mount in world of warcraft. And yes, there are millions who spend money to trick out their avatar or get an edge in facebook games. $3 for sparkler? Hahaha, of course people will buy it. It's $3 flippin dollars.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@Frame_Dragger I don't want to pick a fight, Drag; I am merely pointing out that a convenient friend is always there in a discussion whenever it is needed. "Oh, my friend had t return his xbox five times" or "my friend's PS3 crashes whenever he tries to download something" and "my wii just mugged a guy at gun point". You'll have to forgive my cynicism but this is the internet, sir, and people will lie through their teeth if it validates whatever it is they are saying or makes them look cool. Even people who are 30 aren't immune to acting immature. So as far as you being surprised, well, I'm surprised that you are. Especiallly with the kinect. It's a device that's unreasonably hated by so-called "hardcores" and fanboys who will desperately do anything to paint it in a negative light.

edinko
edinko

@Lazerith91 Maybe you are the only one pal! i despise casual crap and am not wasting my time and money with kinectimals and another abominations

rcooper1
rcooper1

who wants to stand that close to kinect for a chat? and charging for sparkler when it was the only software item in labs that looked half good. microsoft you are losing people with your charge culture.

DP1130
DP1130

I dunno call me old fashioned but I can get all that for free! All I have to do is visit a buddies. I still prefer to be social in human form....but thanks anyway Microsoft. /facepalm

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

The first avatar explaining it was A LOT more animated, hand gestures, body movement, etc, than the silly fluff video with the actors. The actors avatars were really stiff and the hands were always open. Looks stupid and really awkward. And when the chick is looking at the camera on the "tonight show" skit, you can't even tell that she's making a facial gesture. This seems really half baked. I'd delay it MS, at least until it works like you say it should.

Lazerith91
Lazerith91

@edinko Sluggish and imprecise huh? Funny that mine works almost perfectly and I don't even use it in the lighting it should be used in. People need to stop making fun of a product they havnt even tried or have tried once for 2 minutes. Tell me I'm wrong all you want but the fact remains that mine works extremely well. But I guess I'm just the lucky one huh?

edinko
edinko

it was expected that they will milk this useless thing with another useless addons. Kinect is simply useless for normal games. who the hell wants to actually jump like a monkey to ocntrol a game? and its sluggish and unprecise. It is a big failure. the sad thing is that it sold well enough cause ppl nowadays are brainwashed by advertisement.kinect is converting the xbox in WII2- a causal kiddie/platform. You must feel nauseous when you look that they are forcing kinect to nearly every game to rape ppl to buy this useless crap

Ardiendo_1
Ardiendo_1

This stuff should be free for all users. Kinect is expensive and so far there is nothing worth owning it for, give a little back Microsoft!

shadow655
shadow655

Yeah this is pointless... I can see it working for the Vita as a fun little feature but on xbox? It doesn't make scene why they would go that direction. I guess this is what happens when u only care about making money...

zidan4000
zidan4000

@hippiesanta PShome and Xbox avatars are both lame and they contribute nothing to the world of video gaming.

CerpinCygnus
CerpinCygnus

Oh boy, MS sure is providing exciting and worthwhile experiences with their revolutionary hardware! :|

swamptick
swamptick

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pillazz
pillazz

Be careful everyone, download this program and it stuffs up all your kinect lab access. Check the official Microsoft forums as this is quite common. It causes screens to freeze, locks up the xbox and you can no longer get access to Kinect Labs even if you delete Kinect Avatar from your hard drive...I am not a happy customer Microsoft! : (

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

@xboxfanonly You didn't read the story very closely. It is free for Silver and Gold members till Sept. Then it is free for Gold members. So unless you are a "xboxfanonly" that doesn't have Xbox Live, you will get it free forever.

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

@freedomspopular LOL you clearly do not understand a huge number of youngsters out that then enjoy the virtual interaction afforded by an Avatar.

Phatjam98
Phatjam98

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

forever_blank
forever_blank

Yeah the definitely need some more serious titles for the system, mine is also collecting dust.

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

Nice and all but how about some good games instead?

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

Playstation Home Avatar more acurate than this ballon head Avatar Kinect

santiagorf12
santiagorf12

I'd rather prefer M$ focused on providing better games for the kinect. Mine is collecting dust.

mgc9811
mgc9811

kinect! wheeeee whooooooooo!

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

This is a good addiction for the kinect but still not enough to convince me of buying one

freedomspopular
freedomspopular

Call me crazy, but I'd think it would make more sense to just use video chat.

dman123_1
dman123_1

@xboxfanonly Avatar kinect will be free for gold users it is free right now for all (silver) users, Kinect sparkler is going to cost.

Dire_Weasel
Dire_Weasel

Just in time for me to not give a ****.

shnull
shnull

their answer to namco ps3-exclusives is a non-gaming app you have to BUY ? once more i stand silenced by the uncomprehensible tactics of m$

xboxfanonly
xboxfanonly

saw nothing on my dashboard about this today...but, its free for a LIMITED TIME, wtf, so eventualy you will have to pay for this, this, like what, realy, THIS!!! looks like my avatar will never get to show some real expresions and my kinect will continue to gather dust.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

They want people to pay for the sparkler thing? That's kind of funny. And I'm so not excited about facial expressions on my avatar...but I guess at least that's free even though I had no idea this launched today or if it's an automatic update. Don't recall my Xbox telling me it downloaded anything I didn't ask it too.

higdon95
higdon95

Confused, this doesn't exist. Is it an automatic update or do you have to download it?

dark_rage864
dark_rage864

By the time this launches, it will look dated already.

reverendyates
reverendyates

Mark of the beast, new world order. I don't want Microsoft building a database of what I look like. Why not have a game where you give them your DNA, finger print, and retinal scan? I don't trust it.