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Microsoft Ships 8 Million Kinects, Introduces 'Avatar Kinect' Chat Service
Microsoft Ships 8 Million Kinects, Introduces 'Avatar Kinect' Chat Service
January 5, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

January 5, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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    22 comments
More: Console/PC



At a Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech this evening, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Kinect motion-sensing 3D camera has shipped 8 million units in 60 days, also revealing a new face-tracking Kinect online chatroom service called Avatar Kinect.

Previously, the company made a public prediction of 5 million units sold through the end of 2010, which was itself expanded from previous expectations of 3 million sales.

At present, exact sales numbers are not known, but Microsoft says it beat that target: "We far surpassed it both in terms of sell in and sell-through, but only numbers we're providing going forward is sell in," the company clarifies in a statement to Gamasutra.

The Kinect shipment milestone comes as Microsoft also announced it has reached over 30 million Xbox Live members among over 50 million Xbox owners worldwide.

Kinect users will soon be able to used their camera to directly control their Xbox Live avatars in the newly announced Avatar Kinect online chat service, available this Spring for free to Xbox Live Gold members.

The service will also translate facial movements, such as such as smiles and raised eyebrows, to users' online avatars.

A demonstration video for the service showed multiple avatars sitting around online, talking about sports and TV shows among pre-made environments. Videos created with Avatar Kinect will be shareable via Facebook, the video demonstration revealed.

Microsoft also revealed that Kinect-based vocal and gestural controls for both Netflix and Hulu Plus would be coming to the Xbox 360 this Spring.


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Comments


Javier Chavez
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Now this deservers a WHOA!!

Chris Remo
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Whoa!!

Ali Afshari
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Awesome :)

Megan Fox
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... seconding the WHOA. I mean they did have a pretty good ad push behind it, but still... whoa.

Paopao Saul
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MS might have expected Kinect to reach 8M and just lowered their estimates, but still, 8M in 2 months is indeed WHOA. I'm just waiting for a non-party type kinect game now...

Isaac Lanier
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yea me too thats what im waiting on to go buy my kinects. and from what i read the today get my system cleaned or get the new 360.

8million unilts in 2 months like WHOA!

marty howe
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How do people feel about a 'hybrid' action shooter experience, where user shoot guns, powerup and select weapons via the 360 controller; mixed with Kinect based actions? (eg kicking, punching, dodging)



If it was fun and responsive, is this something you would like to play - or does such a concept feel awkward or 'gimmicky'? Would be interesting to hear peoples opinions, as we're yet to see a hybrid Kinect game in the marketplace.

Hakim Boukellif
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Maybe it would work if they released some kind of nunchuck-like controller. The 360 controller isn't exactly the most comfortable thing to hold with only one hand for prolonged periods of time and it would limit arm motions to only one arm, since you wouldn't want someone to flail something that heavy around without it being physically attached to him.

Javier Chavez
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Doesnt kinect remove all controllers of any kind? A shooter that uses the motion capturing for melee attacks would be interesting, but but what would be used for the normal ranged attacks?

marty howe
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Hybrid support is planned. Do a quick google on 'kinect hybrid support' (I didn't want to post an ugly web link here)



Also Hakim, you would only take one hand off the 360 controller momentarily (eg. to perform a punch) and then clasp the controller again.



There are other issues to consider also, do users want to spend hours standing up playing a shooter? If the support is hybrid, users could perhaps alternate between standing or sitting depending on their 'mood' or energy level (or something)

Hakim Boukellif
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"Also Hakim, you would only take one hand off the 360 controller momentarily (eg. to perform a punch) and then clasp the controller again. "



That sounds really awkward. It would slow down your reaction time, because the rest pose of your arm would be holding the controller instead of something that allows you to easily perform the motions the game expects from you. You'd also be constantly switching between "modes" in your head (i.e. "controller mode" and "motion mode" instead of a hybrid "controller+motion mode") which I can only imagine as being very annoying.

For fast-paced games, at least, I don't see it working.

Mark Harris
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The ability of Kinect to "augment" the controller experience is interesting. I'm sure some creative designer will figure out a way to take advantage of this feature for something really cool and innovative... while plenty of less creative designers will stick it where it doesn't belong.



We'll have to wait and see but I think it has potential.

Lee Lim
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Really impressive numbers. Kudos to MS! Other sources, however, claim that these are shipped figures, and not actually sold to consumers: http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/114/1142767p1.html

brandon sheffield
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indeed - we shouldn't have implied a correlation between sales numbers and shipped numbers. that's now been fixed.

gus one
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Still waiting for a Sking/Slalom/Snowboarding/ Skateboarding game(s) of Kinect.



Oh and why not Ice hockey as well, and basketball....

Samuel Fiunte Matarredona
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Sadly the winter Olympics were last year! a vancouver 2010 kinect based might had sold much more than the released game :P

Eric Geer
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I believe that Sonic Freeriders is as close as you can get for now.

brandon sheffield
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adrenaline junkies is a snowboading game from konami. already heavily discounted.

Camilo R
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Impressive indeed. I bet this surprised quite a few people.

Fábio Bernardon
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Did MS mentioned the proportion between Kinect kit sales vs Kinect-Console bundles? In other words, is Kinect appealing to the people MS wanted to (people that doesn't have an XBox yet) or is it appealing to the current console base?

Ian Uniacke
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I would say based on sales estimates that I've seen that they are most definitely getting a significant number of new users. But NPD will confirm this one way or the other.

Mark Harris
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I'm too lazy to look it up but I think at one point somebody reported that about half of the Kinect purchases came from console bundles.



I could be wrong, though, the holidays have fuzzed my memory something fierce.


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