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Microsoft's Kinect to control TV, YouTube, more games

Jun 7, 2011

Microsoft Corp is looking to put
its popular Kinect motion-sensing device at
the heart of its Xbox game console,
unveiling plans on Monday to allow users to
control live television feeds, search YouTube
and play action games with voice
commands.
The moves, announced at the annual E3
video game show in Los Angeles, should
help the software giant further its ambitions
to make its gaming device an essential
media hub in the living room.
Microsoft said it will give users access to live
television programing through the Xbox in
the United States sometime next year,
following live TV services it already offers in
Britain, France andAustralia.
Xbox users will also be able to access Hulu
Plus, Netflix, search the Internet and watch
YouTube videos on the system, all
controllable through the Kinect, Microsoft
said, presenting a challenge to cable TV's
dominance.
In addition, Microsoft thrilled hardcore
gamers at a pre-show event by showing off
upcoming versions of action games with
new Kinect-enabled features, such as
assembling guns and weapons in Ubisoft's
"Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier",
or using voice controls for the upcoming
shooter game "Mass Effect 3" next year.
Analysts were initially skeptical that core
gamers would migrate to the Kinect, which
has attracted mostly newcomers with its
simple dancing, animal and sports-themed
games.
"The concept of playing a core game
without a controller is difficult," said
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.
"A controller makes sense for most actions.
It's awkward when you combine Kinect and
a controller. But it's a start for Microsoft."
In addition, the company announced some
new games for Kinect including a Star Wars-
themed title and "Disneyland Adventure", a
partnership with Walt Disney Co. It also said
"Halo 4", the latest version of its blockbuster
combat game will be released next year.
KINECT SUCCESS
The Kinect has sold 10 million units since it
launched last fall and become one of the
software giant's fastest selling consumer
products ever.
The device, which hooks up to the
company's Xbox console, lets gamers control
movements on-screen with gestures and
voice commands. It competes with the latest
version of Nintendo Wii system and Sony
Corp's PlayStation Move device.
Microsoft announced the news ahead of this
week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)
convention, the videogame business'
marquee event that draws more than
45,000 industry types, reporters and
analysts.
This year's conference, running June 7-9,
comes as the industry tries to cope with the
rapid growth of online and mobile gaming.
It is also expected to feature comeback
attempts from twoJapan-based videogame
heavyweights, Sony and Nintendo.
Later on Monday, Sony is expected to reveal
more details about its new handheld games
device, while Nintendo will be launching the
first new video game home console on
Tuesday.
Microsoft shares rose 0.4 percent to $24.01
on the Nasdaq.