Avatar Kinect in action: prepare to be mildly diverted

So, Microsoft doesn't have a press-ready demo of its new Avatar Kinect, but we at least got to see it in action today. To keep the unwashed masses lining up to try Kinect at the booth entertained, Microsoft has a comedian (dubbed "Mr. Kinect") controlling an Avatar with Kinect, heckling the queued-up folks with his digital puppetry. The good news is that he's working it from a seated position, the great dream of folks tired of standing up to get their motion gaming on. The bad news is that you only get control of your arms, face, and head -- you won't be walking around and punching your friends in the face, sadly. We saw a couple of settings -- sadly, not the AA-style setup we witnessed during the keynote -- which are pleasant but a little generic (like most of Microsoft's Kinect titles right now).

The actual facial tracking and body tracking worked, but the motions seemed a little minimal. Kinect is obviously completely capable of great skeletal tracking, so we're hoping for a bit more expressiveness, but we're still early on, so things could always be tweaked a bit before launch. We did confirm that Steve Ballmer's Avatar appearance last night was a canned recording, so we are looking at software that isn't ready for prime time. Overall we think Avatar Kinect is a great idea, and an excellent way to show off Kinect's exclusive motion control prowess, we just look forward to a future where we have even more control over our Avatars -- isn't that the whole point of Kinect, after all? Let us free, Microsoft. We just want to be free. Check out some video of the setup after the break.