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CES: Natal comes to Xbox 360 in 2010 holiday season

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Microsoft tonight announced it would start shipping its Natal gesture and voice controller for the Xbox 360 game console in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Natal, named after a Brazilian city, lets players yell, jump, kick or wave their arms to control what happens in a video game, using a series of motion detectors, a camera and a microphone to capture what players are doing.

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The Redmond, Wash., technology giant demonstrated Natal last June in Los Angeles, but it did not say when it would start selling the add-on device.

Natal will work only with Xbox 360 consoles, not the original Xbox. Microsoft said it has sold more than 39 million Xbox 360s worldwide. Its Xbox Live online service, which can be accessed from consoles connected to the Internet, has drawn more than 20 million players, half of whom have tried out nongaming content offered on Xbox Live, including TV shows and movies, as well as Facebook and Twitter feeds.

In his keynote speech, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, said sales of consoles, games, peripherals and downloads from Xbox Live generated $20 billion for Microsoft and other companies since the company launched its first Xbox in November 2001.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.


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