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Since November, Microsoft has sold more than 8 million Kinect motion-control systems for the Xbox 360 video game console.
That’s a pretty staggering number for a brand new $149 product. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer revealed the number today during his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He also said that Xbox Live has more than 30 million active users and Microsoft has now sold more than 50 million Xbox 360s.
Kinect is a gesture-control system that senses your entire body’s motion and translates that into inputs for the game console. You can use it to control games by waving your arms or legs around, sort of like the Nintendo Wii on steroids. The Kinect system works well for simple dance and social games, where you can play together with friends.
But Microsoft plans more for it. During the speech, Microsoft said that you will be able to use Kinect to control all of your TV shows and movies on Netflix and Hulu this spring. You can speak voice commands to play movies or navigate through a library.
Microsoft will also launch a new game called Kinect Avatar, which will let you set up video communications with your friends. Only you won’t see them. When you speak, your friends will see your avatar, or Xbox 360 character, say the words. You can have group conversations avatar to avatar.
Microsoft will also release a social ESPN football rivalry game that uses Kinect. You can make bets about who will win games in College Bowl Showdown. The game will let you see which friends are doing best throughout the season.