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It's a webcam....with a green flash!

Microsoft Japan has released the first images of its Video Chat system, a package comprising a webcam, the ordinary Live chat headset and a year’s subscription to Live.

Microsoft has made no noise on a European release as yet, but is expected to comment in the next 24 hours.

The system, first shown at E3 in May, will allow five people to talk simultaneously on-screen, while offering features such as backgrounds, music and the ability to ‘rumble’ other people’s controllers remotely. Now, our minds are clean as the driven snow, but surely this isn’t as innocent as it sounds?

Costing around Ł35, the system is rolling out in Japan first due to broadband being the normal for Japanese households. Video Chat is expected to launch in Japan towards the end of this year, so Europe shouldn’t expect a release until well into 2005.

No announcements have yet been made for EyeToy style software. But given the remote-rumble function and the fact the Xbox audience is “adult”; well, our minds are boggling, frankly.

Look back for Microsoft Europe comment later today. And look here for some more photos.

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