Upon leaving Microsoft's Project Natal ... er Kinect event, we were presented with the plush kitties you see above. Adorable, to be sure, but they conceal a deeper purpose -- a Kinect-related purpose. The animals come with a special code that can be scanned by Kinect (note the colorful "K" in the image above). Once scanned, the cat is unlocked in Kinect's precious pet sim ("Project Natal Animal" here) for some motion-tracked cuddle time.

We've seen similar functionality in Rare's Viva Pinata with the Vision Camera. The real question is whether Microsoft will make these available for purchase in the future. The ones handed out at Kinect's unveiling event are marked as "promotional purposes only."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.