Microsoft launches motion-sensing game

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Microsoft Corp will begin selling its “Kinect” motion-sensing game system on November 4, before the crucial holiday season, hoping to lure new and casual players to the Xbox and steal a march on rivals Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp.
The world’s largest software vendor, which has ambitions of making its Xbox 360 not just a gaming device but a hub of home video and Web entertainment, will also begin selling a smaller, same-priced version of the console this week.
Microsoft would not say how much Kinect —which plugs into Xboxes and lets players control games with body and hand gestures — will sell for.
Executives said 15 titles, including one from Ubisoft, will be available at the time of launch.
Ahead of this week’s E3 convention, Microsoft offered sneak peeks of upcoming titles, including a LucasArts game in which Jedi Knights do battle with light sabers, and a fitness programme that lets players compete in sports from bowling to sprinting.
The world’s leading gaming hardware makers, hoping to reignite the slumping $60 billion industry, will unveil a plethora of futuristic gadgets at the E3 convention this week.
The rush of technology comes just as the video game industry, which dwarfs the $10 billion domestic movie box office, needs it.
US industry sales — hardware, software and accessories — are down more than 10% to $4,7 billion this year through April, according to research firm NPD Group.
Microsoft also said on Monday it had struck a deal with Walt Disney Co’s ESPN network to broadcast live sporting events into US living rooms through the Xbox 360 games console, bypassing traditional cable providers.
Live games will be broadcast through Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, and will be offered at no additional cost.
It already offers Netflix movies and Zune music and videos through its Xbox Live online subscription service.
There has been talk that it will announce a deal to add Hulu TV shows to the service at E3.
The arrival of Kinect may pressure Nintendo, which pioneered motion—sensing gaming through an all–purpose controller with its Wii system. Nintendo is expected to unveil more details on its 3D games system that requires no glasses at E3.
“This year’s E3 gives the gaming industry the first real opportunity to prove that it’s not just about making shoot-em-up games for testosterone-fueled boys,” Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said.
“This is because the secret to the gaming industry’s future is the realisation that game consoles are the most powerful device in the living room,” he wrote in a note. —Rueters

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