Kinect Avatar from Xbox LIVE Marketplace is finally here [Updated]

Avatar Kinect is a free app (for everyone until September 8) that takes advantage of the Kinect's sensors to create expressive and animated avatars that can socialize in chat rooms and even user-produced TV shows.

Avatar Kinect, first introduced back at CES 2011 and originally slated for release this Spring, is finally available for download from Xbox LIVE Marketplace. The free app for all Xbox LIVE members until September 8 (free for only gold members after that) takes advantage of the Kinect sensors' ability to capture facial and head movements to render the data into an avatar of the user on the Xbox.

Kotaku has an interesting video showing the detailed facial data that the Kinect captures, which includes the eyebrow and mouth movement of the user so the avatar could be more real and animated, but not animated like cartoon characters a la Nintendo's Wii Miis.

Thanks to the Kinect's more expressive avatars, they can engage in real-time chats with friends online and even produce "own TV shows" according to SlashGear. Microsoft has included 15 "Stages" that up to eight avatars can hang out in, along with special effects like fireworks to signal an avatar's exit. These chat sessions can be recorded and shared online via social networking sites like Facebook and the Kinect Share website.

Avatar Kinect is live now so you can start tweaking your digital twin today. it's quite a large file to download at 660 MB but seems like it adds a truly social dimension to the Xbox. It'll be even better when these avatars are incorporated into games like Wii Miis.

[Source: SlashGear, Xbox, toddbishoptf's YouTube channel, KotakuMike's YouTube channel, CNET]