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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
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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