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CES: Microsoft Avatar Kinect, Hulu Plus, Netflix for Xbox LIVE Unveiled

At the CES, Microsoft unveiled “Avatar Kinect,” that’ll use Kinect’s camera and sensor to bring a player’s avatar to life. It leverages Kinect’s facial recognition technology to let a person control their avatar’s movements and expressions; when they smile, frown, nod and speak, the avatar will do the same.

With Avatar Kinect, a player can invite up to seven friends to join them in one of 15 imaginative virtual environments. One of those worlds is a performance stage, where friends can record their performance and share with friends.

Avatar Kinect

Steve Ballmer, introduced Avatar Kinect using his own Xbox LIVE avatar to demonstrate the new functionality. Microsoft says Avatar Kinect will be available for Xbox LIVE gold members at no extra cost in Spring.

Steve Ballmer Avatar Kinect

Now a short video showing a bunch of people talking to their Kinects and their avatars doing what they are doing in real life. This is pretty cool. Guess I’d better get a Kinect. I pretty much though it was down to being useful for only certain games.

Avatar Kinect Steve Ballmer

All this is called “Avatar Kinect” and coming in spring for all Xbox Live gold members.

Microsoft also said that it’ll take Kinect’s controller-free experience beyond gaming and into entertainment throughout the year. This spring, for e.g., Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers will be able to use Kinect to control Netflix on Xbox LIVE. Viewers will be able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward streaming movies with only their voice or gestures.

The company also announced that Hulu Plus will be coming to Xbox LIVE as a Kinect-enabled experience this spring. As with Netflix, subscribers will be able to use controller-free motion and voice capabilities to instantly watch full-screen popular TV shows anytime in HD.


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