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Kinect engineer shifts to Google™

One of the fathers of KINECTS is now shared by Google. Do you remember Johnny Chung Lee? No? Here is the reference for you. This man had hijacked a very clever way for the famous Nintendo Wiimote to create “touch” interfaces. Following his brilliant demonstration, Lee had been hired by Microsoft and has participated in Project Natal, in other words Kinect, visual interface for the Xbox 360 which has a very great success since its launch. We learned today that Lee was poached by Google. Johnny says on his blog have joined the team dedicated to a “special project”. Given the skills of man can imagine in the short term the launch of a Google TV KINECTS or longer-term adaptation of this kind of interface for PCs and Smartphones Chrome OS Android.

It is via his Twitter account that Johnny Chung Lee , who is one of the architects of the motion detection KINECTS the Xbox 360, said it had resigned from his position at Microsoft for a job at Google. Lee was described as a major contributor to the software algorithms that allow the system to properly follow KINECTS movements. He gave no reason for his choice. This is a big loss for Microsoft and a big win for Google. Kinect developer Johnny Chung Lee will now join as “Rapid Evaluator” at Google.

Lee left his position after getting Kinect reached 8 million units sold in just two months. Kinect, a system that lets you play videogames without physical controls on the Xbox 360 allowed Microsoft to stay on top of console sales charts in the U.S., ahead of the PlayStation 3 and Wii. Microsoft has sold more than 50 million Xbox 360 units sold worldwide; double the number it sold the first generation of the console.

Johnny Chung Lee the developer is famous enough now. He had tinkered with the Wii for example to create a multi-touch table. But what concerns us directly, he was hired by Microsoft to work on Project Natal is now called KINECTS .The ad man after working more than two and a half years on algorithms for tracking human KINECTS , decided to join Google . The decision was very difficult one and he still remembers the early stages of Project Natal (and even before it has a name). He wishes the Microsoft team good luck for the next Xbox and wait to see how the console will evolve. It’s a good console and a good platform; with lots of potential according to his believe.

Will Google be able to use his master brain? Only time will tell but the plans of the company.

Microsoft Focusing on Kinect for $2 Billion Market Capitalization

Kinect is a gaming device which is specially made for the Xbox 360 gaming platform by Microsoft. The original name of the Kinect console was Project Natal, which was used in the initial developments of the console. Kinect is a console which allows the user to operate the Xbox 360 without game pads. It works via gestures and spoken commands. The purpose of the developing the kinetic gaming console is to give enhanced experience to the player beyond the conventional gaming platform.

In the recent market forecast, Microsoft has said that in the first launch of Kinect it sold 2.5 million consoles and till the year end of 2010 nearly 5 million units were sold. The steep jump in the overall sale value speaks a lot about the growing popularity of the console. Various sources have been quotes as suggesting that Microsoft gets at least $1.2 billion by selling this console in the first year and around $2 billion gross revenue for the system software and Kinect ecosystem.

Because of the Kinect console the market share for the Xbox has gained top position in the gaming console segment. Sources says that they’re also one reason behind the boost in market share, Nearly 1 million Xbox sells is done because of Kinect, people do not want Xbox but they want Kinect so because of this sell is increase tremendously and its helps to Microsoft to connect people with Kinect other than Operating Systems. Microsoft also gets share profit from the Game developers; developer’s wants to develop new games which are compatible with the Kinect so its effect on companies shares profit directly.

Highlights of Xbox 360 Slim & Microsoft Xbox Kinect

Xbox 360 slim has already been selling in some selected stores in the US, while some sources say that Xbox Kinect will be bundled in a package for a reasonable price. UK and the rest of Europe will be able to taste a bite of the new releases from mid July. The new console from Microsoft has been priced at 199 dollars.

Xbox Kinect is a new wave of controllers from Microsoft. Actually there are no controllers, with Kinect, previously ‘Project Natal’, the players become the controllers themselves according to an Xbox marketing pitch. It was expected to be slim in design to go along with the to-be-released Xbox 360 slim, latest press release pictures suggests Microsoft thought otherwise. However it is not clear how the 20 billion dollar games market would embrace the revolutionary technology behind kinect. Some suggests only the hardcore gamers would try their hands on the gadget first, while others think this will be similar to the introduction of the Wiimote by Nintendo.

Xbox 360 Slim

Most people were awaiting for the release of Xbox 360 slim in the run up for the holidays. Common perception of that Microsoft probably would not miss the accelerated sales that could flow in during the holidays has been proved right. The new Xbox 360 slim is not jam packed with a large amount of new features, while the highlight of the bundle is the revolutionary kinect controllers.

Microsoft Xbox Kinect

A new wave of controllers have arrived that are just capable of not only keeping the gamers entertained but also active, something similar to the Wiimote from Nintendo. In fact Nintendo Wii console and the Wiimote was the beginning of such interactive controller based games and entertainment. Quite naturally Microsoft felt obliged to provide Xbox lovers with something similar, perhaps something better than the Wiimote.

Performance expectations

Just like the hype around Nintendo Wii, the Xbox kinect has been getting plenty of attention within the gaming industry. As the problem with Wiimote was the lack of enough high quality games to support the capabilities of the gadget. But the Xbox kinect being backward compatible, no such specially developed games are a necessity. Average price for an Xbox kinect ranging around 150 dollars, average gamer would surely evaluate the value for money before committing to a purchase. Nevertheless the Xbox kinect and the Xbox 360 slim are already taking the gaming market by storm.

Gamers are more vulnerable towards addictive gadgets enclosed with new technology and revolutionary thinking. Formerly “Project Natal”, currently renamed as “Xbox kinect”, is such a gadget that is expected to amplify the sales of the Xbox 360 slim as well. Since the market has some experience with similar groundbreaking gaming consoles and controllers, the anticipated success of the Microsoft’s latest would heavily rely on the sales and marketing pitch for the particular products.

Great expectation of “Project Natal”

The opening day of pre-E3 activities has brought a couple of interesting crumb from Microsoft, which is introducing the primary details on the 360’s long-in-development-Project Natal. The project is popularly known as Kinect which was proclaimed at an event at the University of Southern California. The Internet has also been a buzz with a Microsoft rumor, as ostensibly leaked photos of an ad showing off a new trimmer 360 model along with its motherboard have recently surfaced.

However, Microsoft will probably announce more details at a Cirque du Soleil event in USA shared the official name and the initial list of official games. The date and price for the hands-free motion controller system have yet to be announced. But something we fully expect to change in the next day or so is the game footage of a handful of Kinect games which were shown as part of today’s performance. The company reportedly spent four months preparing for this. While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the leaked advertisement for the 360’s slim model which was shown recently on the Italian site Console Tribe prior to being taken down; allegedly features built-in Wi-Fi. Only a day from its press conference.Microsoft has not confirmed any of these details, leaving any 360 slim details as a wisp of rumor.

However, USA Today revealed this first list of Kinect games:

  • Kinectimals: A virtual ‘big cat’ trainer that lets you train and play with 20 different feline members of the animal kingdom, including tigers, lions, and cheetah.
  • Kinect Sports: Microsoft’s answer to Wii Sports, Kinect Sports features table tennis, boxing, bowling, soccer, beach volleyball, and track and field; all controlled using your body.
  • Joyride: This one looks to be a kart-style racer—grip your hands on an imaginary steering wheel and use your foot for the gas and brakes.
  • Kinect Adventures: This game combines a river raft simulator (recently seen on YouTube) and obstacle course for up to four players. Rafting works in pairs, with players working together and moving in the same direction to steer. Jumping will also grant access to secret areas.
  • Dance Central: Developed by MTV games, this is a motion-controlled dance-off.
  • Disney and Lucasarts have also announced that classic Disney and Star Wars characters will be appearing in upcoming Kinect games.

However, Rumors have also been spilled out that Microsoft had actually not decided the name till the date of its announcement was to be made. Many of them think that the promotional steps that Microsoft took were very much in suspicion forcing them to think that the name Kinect was a recent decision taken by Microsoft. But more important is the thing that now the name Kinect is official name given to one of the biggest launches that the company is going to make in 2010.

Thus, it can be said that this new Kinect is a fun do package for the whole family including high-energy games along with the dancing games even the inclusion of games that have characters from Disney world and star wars are enough to let loose the inner Jedi of the people.

Project Natal – Microsoft’s New Challenge

Microsoft has changed the rules of computer gaming with its Project Natal. Computer and video games have become the major source of entertainment for most people today. Traditional computer games come with controllers which users use to control the game but Natal has changed that. Natal’s rules are that, the user controls the game directly with his actions; no attached controllers.

Microsoft organized a press event recently, in which media personnel were treated to a feel of the project. They were hosted in a room with the device, which they interacted with. Microsoft is set to present Natal to the general public during the 2010 edition of the Electronics Entertainment Expo, E3.

Natal is a computer game developed by Microsoft for its Xbox 360 gaming console. The add-on peripheral attached to the console enables a natural user interface through which users interact with the Xbox 360, without using any game controller hardware. The game is controlled using gestures; facial and body, objects and images presented to the interface of commands issued orally.

The interface is able to detect color differences, body movements and voice commands. As soon as a user gets into range of the interface, the avatar in the game takes the user’s stance. Any movement performed by the user is imitated by the avatar. The avatar is also able to sense and interpret voice commands and responds accordingly. Imagine playing a video football game with a friend. The ball is kicked when you perform a kick or say “kick” or the keeper catches the ball when you move with a ball catching gesture or say “catch”. This is the game.

Though not much has been revealed of the hardware, Sony is believed to hold the rights to it. The outer component is a black television-like box. Natal is said to incorporate and RGB camera, a microphone which is said to be a multi-array, an infrared camera, among others. The RGB and infrared cameras identify players and record their movements and transmits them to another hardware which translated them to the avatar movement. The microphone takes the voice commands or other audio inputs without any need of a headset.

Natal is able to detect changes in a player and also handle multiple players at the same time, with its ability to recognize the shape of the face of players and different lighting conditions. It is also said to include fault tolerance in it design. It is said to be able to handle obstructions such as someone covering part of a player. The press demonstration worked well but the fundamental question most people are asking is whether Natal will work in noisy environments, with crowds and music at the background.

Natal, promises to take gamers to a new gaming world by bringing real user participation into the world of video games. It is slated to be released in October 2010 and be commercially available by December. Some people however view Natal as a hybrid of the Nintendo’s controller and Sony’s “Eye Toy”.

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