Microsoft 'Kinect' for Xbox 360 announcedMicrosoft reveal Xbox hands-free motion controller

14 June 2010

Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft today revealed details of the new Xbox 360 controller Kinect, its rival to the Nintendo Wii.

The first details about the motion free controller, previously dubbed 'Project Natal', have been announced ahead of this weeks E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles.

Kinect motion control

Kinect is Microsoft's answer to the hugely popular Wii motion sensing controls. Although unlike the Wii, it utilizes hand movement rather than a traditional controller. The Kinect device plugs directly into the Xbox 360 and contains a camera, audio sensors and motion-sensing technology, which Microsoft claims can track 48 points of movement on the human body. It can also recognise faces and voices.

The applications of this new device range from casually browsing the Xbox 360 dashboard with a wave of the hand, to controlling an onscreen avatar with full body movements. Microsoft says that this will make playing games more immersive, with your character replicating any move you make.

A new audience

Microsoft says it is aiming the device at the casual crowd, those who might be put off gaming by complicated controls. Corporate Vice President of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten said: 'People who are intimidated by a controller or game pad will finally get to unlock some of the experiences that are possible in the living room'. With over 40 million Xbox 360 consoles currently on the market, Microsoft are looking to extend their appeal to the family sector in the way that Nintendo have with the Wii.

Microsoft's Kinect will be followed this week with an announcement from Sony about their Wave motion controller for the Playstation 3, which is likely also being aimed at the same market. 

Official Microsoft announcement

Further official details such as price and release date have been sketchy so far, with Microsoft waiting until the official announcement later on this evening to reveal all. However, rumours suggest that Kinect should be available in time for Christmas.

We'll be getting our hands on the new device as soon as it launches, so keep an eye on our games reviews for the latest news. 

How to follow the latest Which? Tech news

Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.

Prefer RSS? Don't miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed

For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.

Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared - find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up - we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 - find the best laptop deals