Microsoft's Project Natal Revealed: Kinect For Xbox

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After teasing Kinect at last year's E3 event, Microsoft in late March confirmed the June 13 world premiere of Project Natal, saying at the time that Natal would offer "a revolutionary new way to play: no controller required" and offering a few salient details.

On Sunday came the first big reveal of Kinect, which according to Microsoft plugs directly into any Xbox 360 and contains a camera, audio sensors and motion sensing technology with the ability to track 48 points of movement from the human body, as well as recognize faces and voices.

"It's an amazing year when you look at the things people are expecting," said Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox Live, in a statement from Microsoft. "But we're excited to also be announcing ways that make it simpler for everyone to enjoy the things we do. People who are intimidated by a controller or game pad will finally get to unlock some of the experiences that are possible in the living room, gaming and non-gaming alike."

An exact release date for Kinect has not been announced.

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Microsoft is scheduled to host a live webcast and Xbox E3 Media Briefing Monday, at 10:30am Pacific time. It is also expected to announce full details of games and other news around Kinect Monday.

Project Natal is one of two major Microsoft product releases set for this year, the other being Windows Phone 7. It also comes at a time of upheaval in Microsoft's entertainment ranks.

In May, Microsoft announced the exit of Robbie Bach, the 22-year Microsoft veteran and top executive of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told reporters that Bach had wanted to retire, but the exits of Bach and J Allard, Entertainment and Devices division senior vice president, were seen as a shakeup that gives Ballmer more direct control of the struggling division.