Score Goals, Shoot Rapids, Make Friends with Tigers on Kinect for Xbox 360

LOS ANGELES – June 14, 2010 –Microsoft’s Kinect hits stores this holiday season with an array of new games, including four by Microsoft, the Microsoft Xbox team announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles (E3).

Kinect Animals puts players directly in a tiger cub’s environments, where they can get to know individual cubs.

For the first time, video game players will interact with wild animals, ride river rafts, race in carts, and play soccer – all without a controller.

“It’s a truly magical experience,” Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, said of game-playing with Kinect. “It’s what we see day in and day out when we bring people in and put them in front of Kinect for the first time – they just light up.”

Spencer said that Microsoft also will release the next installment of several blockbuster non-Kinect game franchises, including Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3, and Fable 3. It also will release a new game called Kingdom.

Microsoft’s game offerings for Kinect include Kinect Animals, Kinect Joyride, Kinect Adventures, and Kinect Sports.

Kinect Animals puts players directly in the animal’s environment, rather than “avateering,” or having their avatar on the screen.

Players can interact with feline cubs – tigers, cheetahs, and more – and get to know individual animals through a series of activities. Players can name their animal, and through Kinect’s voice recognition feature the animal will respond when the player calls it.

Spencer said the animal will even recognize when another person has entered the room. If the animal doesn’t know that person it will become more timid.

Soccer and sports such as tennis, volleyball, and boxing are all part of the new game Kinect Sports.

“It really creates this ‘wow’ moment for people when they understand that beyond a controller this is really a two-way sentient relationship with this animal on screen,” Spencer said.

Kinect Joyride is a game that puts players in racing carts in a big racing park, and has them use their whole bodies to control the car – swing it around, glide around turns, flip around, or even throw an arm over the passenger seat and cruise. It’s not a traditional racing game, because while one person is driving, another can be in the passenger seat controlling other aspects of the game. There also is a stunt park mode, with a half pipe.

The widely demonstrated game Ricochet is just one facet of the game Kinect Adventures, which takes players on a river raft ride, through a log-flume obstacle course, and through similar adventures.

“It’s escapism,” Spencer said. “It takes your avatar through a long set of adventures and lets you accomplish things you may never get to do in real life.”

The final launch game from Microsoft is Kinect Sports, which takes classic sports and allows people to play via avatar – and their whole body. Sports include soccer, track and field, bowling, tennis, volleyball, and boxing. Players can compete on their own, with friends in the room, or with friends from afar using Xbox LIVE.

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