Avatar Kinect is a Cartoon Chat Room Like We Thought

Turns out, Avatar Kinect is exactly what we all thought it would be: a virtual social networking service that’s coming in an Xbox Live update.

During its keynote address Wednesday at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, Microsoft showed a (kind of short) video about Avatar Kinect, showing exactly how it works. You sit in front of your TV and Kinect sensor, and the camera maps your movement and facial features — a new development — onto your avatar. Then your avatar can sit in a virtual room on your screen with other friends avatars, where you can have conversations.

There are multiple “sets” where you can sit with your friends, and Avatar Kinect will include (some kind of) Facebook compatibility as well — in the video, the actors were using Windows Phone 7 to access Facebook.

Avatar Kinect is free to Xbox Live Gold users in the spring, coming at the same time with the Netflix and Hulu Plus Kinect upgrades, probably in a big dashboard update. The upgrade is free, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft enacts this money making idea Cliffy B tweeted during the keynote.

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