Microsoft says that it will "completely transform how people think about home entertainment" at this year's E3. A newly rumored motion controller that detects "full body" movement may be what the company has planned.
According to a report from Engadget, who cites an anonymous tipster claiming to have knowledge of Microsoft's Xbox 360 plans, the company is working on a new Wii-like sensor bar for the console that can offer motion control minus the actual controller.
Players will allegedly "kick, punch, duck, dive, jump and so forth with [their] body" and even be able to perform more precise controls like hand gestures for "pinching, grabbing and scrolling."
According to Engadget's source, the introduction of the controller will also introduce video conferencing, unique player detection, and will be used in online trivia games, with players clapping to "buzz in." Could they be referring to Microsoft's free online video game version of the 1 Vs. 100 game show? Could that be why the Xbox Live Primetime service was delayed until this year?
Microsoft's been heavily rumored to be exploring the use of motion control, but appeared to be pursuing more traditional efforts based on previous reports. The company's alleged new attempts sound like a more advanced EyeToy, which Sony employed in multiple, camera-controlled titles for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3.
Sony is similarly rumored to have a new motion control controller solution in the works, one that may be revealed at E3 as well.
While Engadget's grainy image is obviously suspicious in nature, we've heard from other sources that the information is mostly legit. With E3 now just a few weeks away, we'd expect speculation (and leaks) to reach a fever pitch by mid-month.
When contacted for comment, Microsoft reps said "We do not comment on rumors and speculation."
M$ is always full of BS
More from Engadget
Here's a wild one. We just got a tip from someone who purports to be in the know on Microsoft's efforts to beat the Wii at its own motion-sensing game, with some of the details lining up with what we were hearing last year along these lines. The word is that Microsoft is building a "sensor bar" of sorts, but instead of detecting the waggles of Wiimote-like controllers, it detects full body movement and sound, sans controllers. There are two sensors on the bar, along with a mic and a camera, and while our tipster has "no idea" how it actually works, it sounds pretty impressive. Here's a quick rundown of capabilities mentioned:
Full body and hand gesture control of games / characters.
In fighting games you kick, punch, duck, dive, jump and so forth with your body.
It also picks up small hand gestures like pinching, grabbing and scrolling.
There will also be video conferencing and games with video.
Trivia game over the internet with live images of each person playing. When a question pops up, they can clap to buzz in.
You can "move objects on your screen" and the other party can see what you're doing in real time.
Sensor detects only the person playing, not folks observing on the couch.
We're rather curious as to what those two mystery sensors on the bar are doing, since there's specific mention of a lack of controllers. Perhaps they add depth perception to whatever the camera is picking up on video, but we guess we'll have to wait and find out. Of course, this could all be an elaborate hoax, but for what it's worth the picture appears undoctored, and the story is plausible. Either way, it's only natural for Microsoft to be looking to duplicate -- and expand upon -- the wild success Nintendo has enjoyed with motion-controlled gaming. And if they don't, Sony sure will.