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Microsoft announces voice control for Kinect and more at E3 Expo

Consumer Reports News: June 06, 2011 02:51 PM

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In the first major press conference at E3 this year, the preeminent video-game conference, Microsoft made many Xbox 360 announcements—and not all of them were specifically game-related. While the company did demo new games for the Xbox, it also showed new ways to control your Xbox, a significant new content partnership, and more.

Much of the company's news centered around Kinect, the motion-based add-on for the Xbox 360. Many new games will include Kinect integration, and perhaps the most intriguing new feature is voice control.

This feature will be integrated into many games, including Mass Effect 3. You’ll be able to speak dialog lines and issue commands and have game characters respond. In Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a Tom Clancy game, you’ll be able to create unnique weapons using both voice and gesture commands.

The company also announced that Google’s YouTube is coming to the Xbox, and that Bing will be integrated into the Xbox 360: You’ll be able to search via voice command for content on Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and Live TV. If you’re looking for games, you can speak a term such as “LEGO,” and Bing finds all available LEGO games.

A new Xbox activity that uses both voice and new kinds of gesture control called Kinect Fun Labs is available today for all Xbox Live members. You can quickly create look-alike avatars with Kinect Me. Finger Tracking lets you draw in 3D on screen, then view what you’ve drawn from all angles. And Object Capture lets you scan in a real-world object to create a digital, 3D version which you can then animate with your own movement.

Other news included new games and updates to huge game franchises, including Tomb Raider; Mass Effect 3; Ghost Recon: Future Soldier; Tiger Woods; Madden; Star Wars; Kinect Sports; Dance Centraol and Disneyland Adventures, a theme-park game. The conference today opened with a breathtaking 10-minute demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which will no doubt be one of the most popular games this year.

Carol Mangis

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