More of a 'take a look at the possibility here' than an actual product, the newest Kinect Fun Labs offering is nonetheless a very interesting development.
Put simply, Avatar Kinect allows for instantaneous transfer of your facial expressions to your on screen representation- your Xbox Avatar. When you smile, your Avatar smiles, which is in and of itself a pretty impressive feat. And that's not all it does, either. "Avatar Kinect will let you hang out and socialize with seven of your friends in a simulated environment,” said Umaimah Mendhro, a senior product manager for Microsoft Startup Business Group, through a release. “The gathering spots will range from the set of a late-night talk show to a tailgate party to a magical forest.”
No, it's not going to change the way you game - yet - but this little free app is only a teaser for what's to come down the road. It looks promising. Just imagine what this kind of tech could be applied to in the gaming world. What about an RPG where your actual expression and not some rigid 'conversation tree' dictates how characters react to you? Or how would you like creating a character in a multiplayer shooter or sports game that looks and emotes exactly like you, all from a quick Kinect-powered scan.
It could be awesome stuff, but for right now, we've got Avatar Kinect to play around with. It's a free download and, as long as you've got a Kinect to use with it, a pretty safe bet.