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MS: how you'll talk to AI through Kinect

Life-like, natural conversations coming.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft has promised that natural, life-like conversations with computer controlled characters will become a reality through Xbox 360 motion-sensing add-on Kinect.

Microsoft demonstrated Kinect's voice recognition at E3 in June through the Xbox 360's user interface and select games.

Mass Effect 3, for example, allows player to command party members with voice command. Kinect Sports: Season Two contains more lines of recognisable lines of dialogue than any other game.

Right now, though, strict commands must be said clearly in order to instruct game characters to perform actions, but Microsoft told Eurogamer at the Develop 2011 conference in Brighton last week that natural conversations are coming.

Scott Henson, the boss of Microsoft-owned Kinect Sports developer Rare, outlined how a golf game may work in the future in this regard.

"You'll literally say something like, 'you know caddie, I think I need something that helps me with the wind conditions,'" he told Eurogamer.

"Then the caddie will respond with, 'well, it could be either a six iron or a seven iron.' And you say, 'oh, I'd like the seven iron.' It'll be that natural of a conversation."

One Kinect game – now cancelled – that hinted at natural conversations through Kinect, was Project Milo, from Fable developer Lionhead.

Project Milo allowed users to have a realistic relationship with a young boy, who would recognise and react to the tone of your voice and other player expressions.

The cancellation of that game, according to Henson, does not suggest its gameplay was too ambitious for the technology underpinning Kinect.

"In our game it will be, 'change club seven iron,'" he admitted, "but absolutely, without question, the journey we're on is what I just described. That is where we will go. And guess what will be there? Software. Software will be the key that unlocks why that's possible. We already have the microphone there.

"Now we just need to continue to adapt and grow and build our software to make that better."

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