Microsoft shows off Kinect at E3 event

Sports! Star Wars! Dance! Yoga! Tigers!

Microsoft has been showing off the Xbox 360 add-on previously known as Project Natal at a pre-E3 event in Los Angeles. No date or price was discussed at the event, although marketing materials pointed to a November launch.

The event was put together by Cirque du Soleil. The audience got to watch performers play a wide range of Kinect titles, including racing game Joyride and the previously seen River Rush. Turns out River Rush is not a standalone game but one element of a bigger game which, according to USA Today, is titled Kinect Adventures.

It features another mini-game shown today in which players must jump and wave their arms to collect virtual floating balls. The image on-screen was of players' avatars standing on a mine cart-type platform as it moved through a tunnel.

Check out the first Kinect product photographs, and snaps from the premiere event, including one of the fabled elephant.

News of a deal with Disney was confirmed with a brief animation of Tinkerbell, but no games were shown. There was footage, however, of a new Star Wars game. The audience watched a man on stage wave a virtual lightsaber as his on-screen counterpart took out waves of droids.

Next up was what looked like a yoga or tai chi title. The Kinect camera is able to recognise individual joints in the body and the game seemed to use this to analyse their alignment.

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This was followed by Kinect Sports, another collection of mini-games. Two teams of performers played bowling, beach volleyball and football, tackled hurdles and threw javelins. A huge virtual crowd cheered them on from the sidelines.

Then there was Kinectimals, a game which allows players to pet big cats. A girl on stage played with a tiger cub and taught it to copy her movements.

Microsoft is teaming up with MTV for Dance Central. An avatar on the screen performed dance moves and a player copied them. When he was unable to keep up, the avatar repeated the moves at a slower rate.

Finally, video chat was demonstrated. It looks like you'll be able to show the person you're talking to still photographs while you chat.

Microsoft did not reveal a price point or announce a definitive release date; a press release says Kinect is still "coming to living rooms around the world this holiday", marketing says November. Expect more news on Monday when Microsoft holds its proper E3 conference. Visit Eurogamer for our live blog of the event and all the news as it happens.

A model family plays a range of Kinect titles.

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