Xbox Kinect has sold 8 million since launch, and is driving more controller-free features

At CES in Las Vegas today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft has sold 8 million Kinect sensor devices since its launch late last year.

He also announced an AvatarKinect feature for Xbox Live subscribers, which enables your avatar to mimic your movements and expressions, and controller-free selection of movies from Netflix and Hulu as well as the Zune marketplace, using gestures and voice.

I got Kinect at launch and have mixed feelings about it. It has not had much use because the games we have so far are not particularly exciting.

The device itself is exciting though; and given its rapid adoption it seems reasonable to expect that the next batch of games will be more compelling.

The evidence is that the controller-free concept has caught people’s imagination. It has also done something important for the Xbox: rescued it from the niche of hardcore first-person shooters in which it was to some extent trapped.

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