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Microsoft gives its top-secret game controller a name: Kinect

June 13, 2010 |  9:05 pm

At a gala event Sunday night, Microsoft unveiled the name of its latest video-game technology:  Kinect.

The unveiling capped a 45-minute performance by Cirque du Soleil at the Galen Center arena, which will be repeated again Monday night before the show is mothballed and sent back to Montreal, Canada, where the troupe is based. In the video above, Cirque du Soleil's artistic director, Michel Laprise, talks about how it approached the project in creating its one-of-a-kind show for Microsoft.

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops in an effort to market Kinect, which the company had previously code-named Project Natal. The device, when attached to Microsoft's Xbox 360 video-game console, lets people play games by gesturing, moving their bodies or speaking.  

Kinect is key to Microsoft's  effort to become the focal point of living room entertainment. Its Xbox 360, when connected to broadband Internet, is already capable of playing on-demand movies via Netflix and also lets viewers rent high-definition movies and TV shows, in addition to downloadable games. 

But Microsoft has thus far been saddled with a reputation of being a console for dedicated gamers, not average families. Kinect is the company's bid at attracting people who are too intimidated by its 14-button controller. Microsoft and other game developers are expected to unveil over a dozen Kinect titles this week during the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo starting Monday in and around Downtown Los Angeles.

-- Alex Pham

Video: Alex Pham / Los Angeles Times

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