Today, Microsoft opened the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with an announcement of 10 new games and the introduction of "Project Natal" and controller-free gaming.
During its briefing, Microsoft showed a lineup of blockbuster games, including "Forza Motorsport 3," "Alan Wake," "Halo 3: ODST" and "The Beatles: Rock Band." The company also announced a host of Xbox LIVE services, from instant on 1080p HD streaming movies and television to Facebook and Last.fm tailor-made for your TV. And rounding it all out, "Project Natal," a whole new way to play, no controller required.
Unveiled for the first time to the public was "Project Natal," pronounced "nuh-tall" and a code name for a new way to play, no controller required. "Project Natal" is a fully hands-free control system that will use face recognition and motion sensors to allow users to play games. During the demonstration, British developer Peter Molyneux showed how Natal could not only recognise faces, it could recognise facial expressions to determine what mood a player was in and react accordingly.
Compatible with any Xbox 360 system, the "Project Natal" sensor is the world?s first to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, "Project Natal" tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice.
In addition the "Project Natal" sensor is not light-dependent. It can recognize you just by looking at your face, and it doesn't just react to key words but understands what you're saying. Call a play in a football game, and players will actually respond. Want to log onto Xbox LIVE? Simply step in front of the sensor.
Internet Custom-Made for Your TV
Xbox LIVE today announced that Facebook and Last.fm would be tailor-made for your TV, only on Xbox 360. Microsoft also announced Xbox LIVE Party for movies, which allows movie experiences to be shared ? on the couch or across the country over Xbox LIVE in supported movies.
Using Facebook Connect, you can share your greatest moments in gaming by posting updates and screenshots from supported games directly to Facebook.
A first for TV, Last.fm, part of the CBS Interactive Music Group, will give Xbox LIVE subscribers access to songs streaming through Xbox 360 to the best speakers in the house. Xbox LIVE subscribers will be able to create their own free, personalized radio stations and listen to them with friends in the living room or across the country.
Microsoft also announced Xbox LIVE Party for movies. Go to the cinema with your friends whether you are sitting on the same couch or in living rooms across the country. Starting this year, you can share a virtual theater, see your avatar (a virtual you) on the screen, all while you listen to each other laugh and cry at the movie through voice chat on Xbox LIVE.
1080p HD in an Instant
Microsoft also today announced that Xbox would deliver instant on 1080p movies and TV with 5.1 surround sound ? direct to consoles connected to compatible HD TVs through the Xbox LIVE social entertainment network.
Starting this fall, a selection of movies and TV shows from Zune video on Xbox 360 will be available to start and stream instantly, in the highest video quality and at the push of a button.
In addition, Microsoft announced it will more than double the number of markets where Xbox LIVE offers its TV shows and movies, growing from eight to 18, by adding Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Xbox LIVE members in these markets will have access to instant on 1080p video.
Microsoft also tied up a deal with Sky to show content via Xbox Live.