Source: See below.
What we heard: Last week, ye olde rumor mill churned out a report that Sony would reveal the motion-sensing controller that it patented last year at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Now, it's Microsoft's turn.
The speculation stems back to February, when reports out of Israel and Silicon Valley indicated that the software giant had purchased the startup 3DV Systems to acquire its Z-Cam motion-sensing technology.
The Web site for 3DV describes its technology thusly: "For the first time ever, you can use your body freely to control games, no wearables required, no limitations attached. Move your hand, leg, head, or finger in any direction and setting, moving quickly or making fine, minor movement--all these gestures are easily detected and understood by the system, creating a unique, personalized, and immersive gaming experience. This experience is complemented by the ability to combine your own 3D image inside the game scene, in real time."
The Microsoft motion-sensing front remained largely quiet until last Friday, when popular tech blog Engadget posted a photo of a motion-sensing camera peripheral hooked up to an Xbox 360. The controller's capabilities sounded virtually identical to that of the Z-Cam, with "full body and hand gesture control of games [and] characters" including the ability to "kick, punch, duck, dive, [and] jump." The add-on will also apparently recognize "hand gestures like pinching, grabbing, and scrolling" and will also feature live video conferencing, among other features.
Then, amid the Cinco de Mayo revels on Tuesday, top-tier tech site Ars Technica and the British newspaper The Guardian both posted articles saying that they had already demoed the 3DV Z-Cam--at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show more than one year ago. The latter even has video of it in action (at time count 1:17), which indeed shows Minority Report-like functionality, with correspondent Bobbie Johnson navigating a series of menus with a few hand motions.
The CEO of 3DV Systems, Zvi Klier, explained to the Guardian that "while a regular camera sees color per pixel, this [Z-Cam] camera sees distance per pixel, and because we see exactly what's happening in front of the camera, we can understand human gestures very easily."
Both the Guardian and Ars Technica go on to describe the Z-Cam's features as being exactly the same of those outlined by Engadget. And with the technology so far advanced, both postulate that the enhanced 360 add-on might be the centerpiece of Microsoft's E3 press conference on the morning of Monday, June 1.
The official story: "Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation."--Microsoft spokesperson.
Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus that Microsoft is working hard to catch up in the motion-sensing control race. But will the 360 add-on be ready by E3? It certainly looks close...