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Microsoft demos a Kinect-enabled Mass Effect 3 for hardcore gamers (video)

Xbox 360 manufacturer Microsoft announced today that one of the hottest titles that will be released next year, Mass Effect 3, will feature voice controls with the console’s Kinect motion controller. Microsoft made the announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of the video game industry’s largest trade shows, in Los Angeles, Calif. today.

Giving players new ways to control the game is one way to make the gaming experience more immersive. Adding voice controls gives gamers an array of new options to control their squads in Mass Effect 3. While still controlling series protagonist Commander Shepherd with a regular controller, players can tell their squad mates to advance on enemies and use special skills to disable them while Shepherd goes in for the kill.

Mass Effect 3 also features extensive dialogue options, but traditionally gamers have had to select a specific response. Players can now say a response aloud, and Commander Shepherd will continue the conversation without missing a beat. Mass Effect 3 will be one of the major releases for hardcore gamers that will feature Kinect features — along with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier and a number of EA Sports Games. Microsoft is ensuring there’s enough Kinect content for both casual and hardcore players.

The company has tried to market its Kinect motion controller as an “experience” by giving Xbox 360 owners ways to control other parts of their Xbox 360 with motion controls — like the menus in the console’s dashboard that let owners access popular applications like Hulu and Netflix. That includes rebuilding games — even hardcore games like first-person shooters — with those same Kinect features.

The Kinect is a strong part of Microsoft’s portfolio and has been a large factor in the company’s recent success. Revenues from Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division was up 60 percent to $1.9 billion in the third fiscal quarter this year, from $1.2 billion in the third quarter last year. Revenue rose 13 percent to $16.4 billion, up from $14.5 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Xbox 360 manufacturer already leaked information about three of the games that the company would present on stage at E3 this year — including a Disneyland adventure and a long-awaited motion-controlled Star Wars game. Those games were designed to bring motion-controlled gaming to an even broader audience, taking a page out of Nintendo’s playbook as the company has tried to attract more casual gamers.

Microsoft accidentally let slip that it would announce a new Halo game. That coming release puts Microsoft in direct competition with powerhouse developers like Activision-Blizzard and Electronic Arts, which have extremely popular first-person shooter games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Microsoft recently took over development of the Halo franchise when it created in-house studio 343 Industries.

You can see a video of the whole presentation below. Stay tuned to VentureBeat.com for more details from E3.


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