Microsoft Responds to Steve Ballmer's Avatar's Finger Movements from Last Night's CES Keynote

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During last night's Microsoft Keynote at CES and subsequent unveiling of Avatar Kinect, Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, took to the stage with his Avatar to show off what the new software will be capable of.

The software, which is due this spring for free for Xbox Live Gold members, will take Kinect's motion tracking to a new level by tracking facial expressions and mouth movements. However, the observant viewers out there will have noticed that Ballmer's Avatar's fingers moved as well, fuelling rumours - that were recently quashed - that Microsoft were including that feature into the tech in the near future.

We reached out to Microsoft earlier on today to follow up on said observation.

The console creator stated that "The Steve Ballmer Avatar Kinect animation was a video created using some of the Avatar Kinect technology for the Microsoft Keynote at CES.  Avatar Kinect, which launches this spring on Xbox LIVE, will have some of this functionality."

"It will capture your facial expressions and voice which is enacted by your Avatar – when you smile, frown, nod and speak – your Avatar will do the same. We are constantly improving the performance of the tracking technology till we launch Avatar Kinect in spring 2011."

So there you have it, "some" of those enhancements from last night will be used in Avatar Kinect - for instance, facial expressions and tracking mouth movements when speaking - but judging by the official line, I'm not sure we should expect finger tracking. Not just yet anyway. At least we can see it's being worked on now though... unless that part of the keynote was all smoke and mirrors...

Avatar Kinect will release in the spring and will be free for Xbox Live Gold members.


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