Microsoft to unveil new Kinect 'Fun Labs,' Halo 4 at E3

Summary:Microsoft inadvertently (I think) published information about some of its E3 conference announcements a couple of hours before the actual press conference where company officials will take the wraps off the latest Xbox-related developments.

Microsoft inadvertently (I think) published information about some of its E3 conference announcements a couple of hours before the actual press conference where company officials will take the wraps off the latest Xbox-related developments.

Microsoft video spots showing off Halo 4, Kinect Star Wars, more Kinect sports games, Kinect Fun Labs gadgets and new voice search capabilities for Xbox Live temporarily went live this morning on Microsoft's Web site. (Thanks to @JoshPhillips for the initial catch.)

Kinect Fun Labs is a collection of tools for building custom Kinect gadgets. The tools include Build Buddy, Googly Eyes, Kinect Me (a tool for creating avatars that look like users), a BobbleHead-avatar creation tool and Kinect Sparklers (that allow users to add sparkly elements to their backgrounds). Once users create new/enhanced avatars and gadgets, they can share them with friends via a common hub.

(Here's a screen capture of the Kinect Fun Labs information Microsoft posted)

(click on image above to enlarge)

Halo 4 is "in development." (I'm thinking that means it is coming later this holiday season... or maybe not until holiday 2012?) Update: No Halo 4 until holiday 2012, Microsoft says.

Update: Here's a bit more on Kinect Star Wars,  courtesy of The Washington Post.

There's still a possibility that Microsoft might unveil Project "Orapa," a mash-up of Mediaroom IPTV with Xbox Live --  which may be branded as Xbox Live Diamond, during today's Microsoft E3 press conference, which starts at 12:30 p.m. ET today and will be Webcast here.

Other tidbits from today's press conference:

* Microsoft is making sure there will be plenty of hard-core shooter games that will take advantage of Kinect available later this year -- along with more "family-oriented" Disney, Sims, sports and other similar titles.

* If Orapa is going to be named "Xbox Live Diamond," Microsoft execs didn't use that name today. Instead, they called it "Xbox Live TV," and said it would be available to consumers this fall. (That means Microsoft is seemingly on schedule, as I heard fall 2011 as Orapa's commercial due date.) Microsoft didn't announce the names of any broadcast partners who will be offering Xbox Live TV, but I've heard the company will likely go first with those already signed up to sell Mediaroom IPTV. YouTube support seemingly will be part of the new Live TV package, as well.

* Bing search is being added to Xbox Live. Voice-enabled search will be provided for those with a Kinect sensor. It will be part of a new Xbox 360 dashboard coming later this year.

* No mention of the whereabouts of the expected Kinect SDK beta for hobbyists. It is due "this spring," last we heard. But no beta today. And no new information as to the final version of Avatar Kinect, either.

Topics: CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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