As expected, "Avatar Kinect" was unveiled during Microsoft's annual CES keynote. It's "a new way to socialize on Xbox Live" allowing direct Avatar control using Kinect, enabling the obligatory gesture control and adding impressive facial expression support. The service takes the form of "stages" which give users talk show-like sets to interact with their friends. Ever wanted to spend time with friends after the latest episode of your favorite show, assembled in a virtual roundtable, and then post the video to Facebook for friends to see? Yeah, neither have we ...

Ballmer says that Avatar Kinect will be available for Xbox Live Gold members only this Spring and comes with fifteen stages. We're working on getting the video of the demo up – hold tight! [Update: Now with video demonstration and trailer after the break!]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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