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Kinect workings exposed by Microsoft patent application

08/05, 3:45pm

Details of Kinect's working exposed by patent

Microsoft's patent application for its Kinect motion controller has recently gone public, giving everyone an inside look at how the technology works. The system uses software called PrimeSense to detect the user's movements thanks to a webcam. The camera detects human targets and compares them to a stored pattern of a human body model.

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Microsoft Kinect ships November 4 with 15 games [U]

06/14, 4:10pm

MS dates Kinect controller

(Updated with price leak) Microsoft at its E3 conference put a date on the Kinect motion controller. The add-on will ship on November 4 and will be accompanied by 15 games when it launches. Some of these are first-party games such as the virtual pet Kinectimals or the multi-game Kinect Adventures, but others will be third-party titles such as Ubisoft's Your Space exerciser and Harmonix's Dance Central; Konami's Metal Gear-themed Zan-Datsu and a Star Wars game are also in the works.

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Live: Microsoft's E3 2010 press conference [ended]

06/14, 1:20pm

Microsoft to show Kinect, slim Xbox 360

Microsoft held its E3 press conference today in Los Angeles. It provided more details of the Kinect controller and the slim Xbox 360. Visit our live coverage page for updates as they happened.

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Microsoft Kinect to offer video chat, ship November

06/14, 7:25am

Xbox 360 Kinect controls Xbox UI, video cats

Microsoft very early this morning confirmed the first details of Kinect, the new name for Project Natal. The Xbox 360's motion controller add-on will be useful for games like a Star Wars Jedi title and the pet play game Kinectimals but will also be useful for large parts of the console's interface. A video chat app is new and will let users share photos, and much of the Xbox Dashboard will be controllable with hand gestures.

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Slim Xbox 360 seen, Project Natal now called Kinect

06/13, 9:10pm

Microsoft let details slip early

Microsoft may have let slip some of its E3 plans early, including a redesigned Xbox 360, through a series of posts and ads. International gaming sites such as Console Tribe briefly showed ads this evening of the rumored slim Xbox 360. Apart from being smaller, the new design has an angular shape reminiscent of the X logo and is more than just the smaller, cooler-running model hinted at earlier. The ads point to it having built-in Wi-Fi for the first time, saving a costly adapter, and making 250GB the standard capacity.

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Slim Xbox 360 has chance of launching at E3

06/11, 2:55pm

Sources hear slim Xbox close, but not certain

Microsoft's often rumored slim Xbox 360 may be close enough to launch at E3, sources said Thursday. It would have the smaller chips expected to reduce the heat and cost of the console as well as extra steps to keep the price down. Its design might be timed to coincide with the launch of Project Natal as it could help spark interest in a combination of the two.

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Microsoft may sell 5 million Project Natals in 2010

06/11, 7:45am

MS has high hopes for Natal controller

Microsoft hopes to sell "at least" five million Project Natal controllers this year, two insiders said late Thursday [subscription required]. The sources didn't provide the exact launch date or price but implied to the WSJ that the target was aggressive, as the motion controllers would only ship late in the year. Microsoft has publicly touted Natal as one of its most important launches.

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Final Project Natal unit possibly seen at D8

06/02, 4:15pm

Project Natal demonstrated at D8

More photos of what is believed to be Microsoft's Project Natal full body controller have surfaced, thanks to Engadget. The expected retail version was being demonstrated at the D8 show, which is where the photos were captured. Unlike the previous leaked photos, this version is white, to match the Xbox 360 Arcade's standard color.

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Project Natal may cost $149, ship October 26

05/26, 6:20pm

Microsoft's Natal may be expensive as stand-alone

Microsoft's Project Natal could be an expensive peripheral if a rumor from a "trusted" insider is true. The device could cost as much as $149 by itself and might make the most sense only as part of an Xbox 360 bundle, where it would cost $299 for an Arcade console with the motion controller. The Edge source added that it was targeted for an October 26th launch, consistent with earlier rumors, but that it could move weeks forward or back depending on conditions.

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Project Natal to launch in October?

05/12, 1:25pm

Project Natal due in October?

Microsoft's full-body motion controller Project Natal, has been on track to come out in time for the Christmas holidays, but the latest news from the software and hardware giant places it at an October release. Microsoft's Saudi Marketing Manager Syed Bilal Tariq claimed during a presentation that nothing was official but was confident that the launch had been narrowed down to the one-month window.

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Nintendo may follow Microsoft with paid online gaming

05/08, 11:00am

Future Wii, DS could use Xbox Live style play

Nintendo could change the multi-player gaming on the DS and Wii to follow the Xbox Live model, the company's development head Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview on Friday. While the current system is free both to browse and to play online, the Super Mario creator floated the possibility to Edge of either charging for most content or offering extras to those willing to pay. Nintendo is " less active than [it] should be" in the online subscription space, he said.

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Rumor claims slim Xbox 360 due alongside Natal at E3

04/26, 11:10am

Slim Xbox 360, Project Natal and games due at E3?

A new rumor claims that, at the upcoming E3 show in mid-June, Microsoft will reportedly hold two press conferences, during one of which the Xbox 360 will get a new standard color and logo. The system will now come in black as standard, in order to better match up with black HDTVs. A slim Xbox 360 will also be shown, as alluded to earlier this month.

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Microsoft already showing new Zune HD?

04/20, 6:40pm

Director may have seen new Zune early

Director James Gunn may have seen the next-generation Zune, based on an account of a visit to a Microsoft Experience event. In addition to seeing pre-release hardware like Project Natal and the HP slate, he also claimed to have seen the "new Zune." He wasn't specific about details other than to say he didn't think he could switch due to iTunes and the apps he uses for the iPhone.

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Alleged photos show live Project Natal

04/20, 4:10pm

Prototype Project Natal photos leaked

An Italian site has leaked photos which are said to show a prototype unit of Microsoft's Project Natal full body controller that is apparently being tested for speech recognition. The camera unit, a quick start guide and an instruction manual are shown off, and may have revealed that Natal needs to be plugged into its own outlet. Also, the camera may have a motorized tilt mechanism and users are urged not to manually try to tilt the sensor in its base or risk damaging it.

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Analyst expects slim Xbox with Natal, 250GB drive for $299

04/14, 12:40pm

Slim Xbox with Project Natal for $299 due in 2010

If the predictions of Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter prove true, Microsoft will release a number of new Xbox gaming consoles that offer better value. At the very least, he said in a research note, the standard Xbox 360 will add a 250GB hard drive and retain a $299 price tag. The more likely bundle is a slim Xbox 360 that gets a 250GB hard drive and is bundled with Project Natal full body controller, again for $299. The current Xbox 360 Elite with a 120GB hard drive costs $299.

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PrimeSense claims credit for Project Natal motion tech

03/31, 10:50am

Microsoft says PrimeSense key in Project Natal

Microsoft on Wednesday officially named PrimeSense as the key partner in the development of its Project Natal Xbox 360 3D-sensing technology for its control interface. The Project Natal sensor was based on the PrimeSensor reference design from PrimeSense but was modified by the Xbox 360 hardware teams to meet Microsoft's specific needs. Microsoft has said it will bring its Project Natal interface to market in time for the holidays near year's end. A near final version of the interface is expected to show up at the E3 gaming show in June.

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Project Natal to show in near complete form at E3

03/25, 3:35pm

Microsoft to show finished motion controller

Microsoft this afternoon confirmed that it will show the virtually complete version of Project Natal at pre-E3 events. The console maker plants to show it first at an all-ages event on June 13th at the Galen Center in Los Angeles and will follow it up with a keynote for the press the following day. The launch is likely to involve near-finished hardware and some of the first official games for the Xbox 360 motion controller.

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UK celeb puts Project Natal in October

02/24, 4:35pm

Project Natal to be out in October?

Microsoft's Project Natal gesture-control interface may be out sooner than originally expected, according to BBC presenter Jonathan Ross. Ross posted on his Twitter account on Monday afternoon after spending some 'hands-on' time (viewable below) with an Xbox and the interface, saying it's "not quite there yet" but that Microsoft has until October to get it right. In response, Microsoft remains tight-lipped, saying only that the originally announced date is when Project Natal is coming.

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Playstation Arc motion controller confirmed by THQ chief

02/04, 6:40pm

Uses PS3 Arc multiple times in call with investors

THQ chief executive officer Brian Farrell may have given more credence to previous reports that the new PlayStation 3 motion controller device will be named the Playstation Arc. In a call with investors, Farrell referred to the new controller as the Playstation Arc repeatedly, in both his prepared remarks and during the Q&A session that followed.

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Microsoft refutes "clumsy" claim, points to end results

02/04, 6:35pm

MS PR says effect more important than problems

Microsoft corporate communications head Frank Shaw has quickly rejected former VP Dick Brass' assertions that the company is no longer innovative by citing examples of what Shaw views as success. The PR leader believes Microsoft should be seen by its "broad impact" and notes that, in spite of ClearType's delays, it's now on more than a billion PCs. Scale is more important than speed, he argues.

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Nintendo may have turned down Project Natal

01/27, 6:50pm

Nintendo chief thought Natal too expensive

Nintendo may have dismissed the technology that became Project Natal as far back as three years ago, an allegedly very high-placed insider said in a rumor late Tuesday. 3DV Systems, which created the technology and later sold it to Microsoft for the Xbox 360, is said to have pitched an early form of it to Nintendo in 2007. The latter's chief Satoru Iwata turned it down, however, as it was allegedly thought too expensive and too lag-prone.

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Sony PS3 Motion Controller to be called Arc?

01/19, 9:55am

Sony to call PS3 Motion Controller the Arc?

Sony will reportedly call its motion controller Arc, according to a Tuesday VG247 report. The source of this information wishes to remain anonymous and makes the previous believed name for the system obsolete. Earlier, the system was believed to be called Gem, which was apparently an older internal codename as revealed by EA CEO John Riccittiello and now admitted by Sony.

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PS3 motion controller to be called the Gem?

12/10, 11:50am

EA exec may have slipped final name

Sony's PS3 motion controller may have already received a final name if a slip by EA chief John Riccitiello is a clue. Speaking at UBS' annual conference about the future influence of motion controllers like Microsoft's Project Natal, he was heard by IGN referring to the Sony controller as the Gem as a matter-of-fact statement. While the CEO is likely to have inside knowledge of plans, it's not known if the name reflects his knowledge or simply reflects the colored ball that defines the Sony controller.

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Project Natal to cost just $80, ship Nov. 2010?

11/11, 12:15pm

Project Natal price, ship targets slip out

Microsoft hopes to price Project Natal low enough that virtually every gamer can add it, a major rumor claimed on Wednesday. Alleged sources of MCV's argue that the Xbox 360 motion controller is being designed with a price target of 50 (about $80) or less with 14 games, presumably mini-games, included in the box. The target is such that Microsoft hopes for "impulse buy" customers and may even drop to 30 ($50).

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Microsoft demos transparent, touchless interface

11/06, 10:30am

MS glass interface uses eyes, gestures, voice

Microsoft chief research officer Craig Mundie as part of his college tour this week demonstrated a unique concept for a future computing interface that would in many cases go without any touch input. Although it would support pens for precise input, the transparent glass display would also recognize voices and detect touch-free gestures, much as with the Xbox 360's upcoming Project Natal. The system can also detect eyes and navigate based on their gaze.

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Microsoft's Natal out late in 2010, says THQ boss

07/29, 4:55pm

Natal out by fall of 2010

Game maker THQ's chief Brian Farrell recently corroborated last week's report that Microsoft's Project Natal body controller for the Xbox 360 will be out late in 2010. Speaking in a conference call regarding THQ's earnings report, Farrell said Natal from Microsoft is a "platform addition, coming late next year," when asked about market changes in the upcoming cycle.

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Xbox 360 with Project Natal due 2H 2010?

07/22, 9:10am

Natal cam supplier named

Aptina Imaging is the exclusive supplier of the 1.3-megapixel CMOS sensors for Microsoft's Project Natal for the new Xbox 360 and will be key to a new bundle, according to a Wednesday report. In addition to being needed for the full-body motion controller's optics, the company is said by Taiwanese sources for DigiTimes to be gearing up for the release of a new Xbox 360 that will carry the Project Natal system and ship in the second half of 2010.

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Gates sees Natal coming to Windows PCs

07/15, 9:30am

Gates on Natal and Windows

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates today hinted that his company's Project Natal technology for the Xbox 360 should also come to Windows. The future add-on, which detects full body movement and real-world objects, is now expected to reach the desktop both for work purposes, like collaboration, but also media tasks in the home. Gates wasn't specific in details with CNET but teased that the prospects are "very exciting."

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Microsoft to make Project Natal part of new Xbox?

06/12, 11:05pm

Project Natal and New Xbox

Microsoft's Project Natal could not just be an add-on for the Xbox 360 but the foundation of a new Xbox altogether, according to fresh rumors. Those at 1UP hear that the full body motion controller will be the "cornerstone" of a new console and come with it. Details of the new Xbox itself aren't clear, but it's believed the machine could be an evolution of the Xbox 360 that has extra performance but which could still run legacy games. It would ship in fall 2010 and could be announced as early as the Game Developers Conference in March of that year.

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