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Microsoft: Kinect Can Detect Seated Players

Addressing some lingering questions about Kinect, Microsoft clarifies that the device can detect players while sitting "when an experience is developed with sitting in mind," -- but it's clearly still focused on the active gamer.
Some questions have surrounded Microsoft's Kinect since the company offered its first hands-on look at the device during E3 last month -- can it see users while sitting? Several reports from the event had questioned that, curious about the viability of a gaming device that didn't let players be couch potatoes if they felt like it. Microsoft is at last stepping up to clarify, at least somewhat. "Kinect can be used while sitting when an experience is developed with sitting in mind," the company said in a statement to consumer weblog Joystiq. The company previously said that the device can be "aware" of up to six game participants at once, while only two can be "active" at a time. When Gamasutra followed up for detail on what qualifies as "active", Microsoft declined to elaborate at this juncture. The questions about seated players solidified once some tech specs for Kinect appeared, revealing it tracks body movements along a 20-joint skeletal map, and a total of 48 "points of movement." Kinect's E3 showing -- which Microsoft today called "only the tip of the iceberg", demonstrated that, at least initially, the device will target sport, fitness and family players, a similar audience segment that has enjoyed motion-controlled experiences like Wii Fit and Mario Kart on Nintendo's console. And it seems that for the time being, it's still "movement" on which the company prefers to concentrate. The examples it gave today of "experiences where we expect people to be sitting" include Xbox 360 Dashboard navigation and ESPN, Zune and Video Kinect apps, according to the report. So it seems for now Microsoft would prefer to focus on the device's potential to engage players in more physical activity, calling it "natural for Kinect games to be designed to get you off the couch: dancing, running, dodging, bending and kicking."

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