For Microsoft, E3 2010 was an opportunity to name and reveal the final version of its take on motion controls. It's called Kinect (formerly Project Natal), and unlike the motion-control system from Nintendo and Sony, it doesn't use any sort of controller. The Kinect camera technology detects and tracks your full body and corresponding movements, so when players swing their hands or kick their feet, the games that support Kinect read these movements and translate them into in-game actions. For example, in the game Kinect Adventures, you physically have to lean left or right to guide a raft down the roaring rapids of a river. In the bowling game found in Kinect Sports, players simply perform the bowling motion as they would in real life and Kinect will do the rest.
What makes Kinect even more interesting is that its functionality extends beyond games and into the Xbox 360 dashboard. Kinect users can tell the Xbox 360 (thanks to a built-in microphone in Kinect) to perform various actions, whether it's pausing a movie or initiating a video chat with a friend. Additionally, users can navigate through menus by simply placing their hand in the air to a corresponding object onscreen.
Of course, with the motion-control systems found on the Wii and PlayStation 3, there's some calibration involved. With Kinect, we've seen games where players are prompted to stand in a specific spot for a few seconds while the camera retrieves general information about your position, but in a lot of cases, we've also seen players jump in and out instantly without the need for the camera to stop gameplay for calibration reasons.
Kinect is currently scheduled for release on November 4, 2010, in North America with a worldwide release before the end of the year, but neither an official price nor bundle options have been announced. Be sure to check out the highlights of GameSpot's E3 2010 Kinect coverage by following the links below.
- Child of Eden The spiritual successor to Rez features slick visuals and a pumping soundtrack.
- Kinectimals Having a virtual pet tiger is so much easier than having a real one.
- Star Wars Kinect (tentative title) Become a Jedi and use the power of the Force, as well as your trusty lightsaber to battle Imperial forces.
- Kinect Sports Head to the beach to play some volleyball or hit the lanes for some bowling in this compilation that features several sports.
- Forza Motorsport Preview Race to the finish with a Kinect-enabled version of the popular racing game.
- Kinect Joy Ride Get your Xbox 360 avatars on the track for some over-the-top racing.
- Dance Central Learn some new dance moves in this new rhythm game from the creators of Rock Band.
- Your Shape: Fitness Evolved The fitness game returns with an all-new approach designed specifically for Kinect.
- Kinect Adventures Jump and dodge obstacles while riding a flatbed railcar or float down some river rapids and more in this collection of action-oriented minigames.
- Motion Sports Ubisoft enters the arena with this compilation of minigames based on professional sports.
- EA Sports Active 2.0 The popular workout game is coming to the Xbox 360 with activities designed to help you slim down with the help of Kinect.
- Sonic Freeriders Sonic is back, but now you can move him and his furry friends with your own body.