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The Kinect for Xbox 360 goes on sale in South Africa this week - bringing with it an era of controller-free gaming and entertainment.

Kinect and the long-awaited Xbox Live service were launched in Sandton to more than 200 media, customers, and fanatics.

Unlike any other consumer technology available today, Kinect lets people use their bodies play games and access entertainment, literally turning the user into the controller. It locks onto people and follows their motions. Players activate it with a wave of a hand, navigate menus by moving their arms and then run, jump, lunge, lean and dance to direct their on-screen avatars.

“For us, this is a really big deal,” said Yvette van Rooyen, product manager for Xbox in South Africa. “Kinect literally transforms entertainment and introduces the Xbox 360 console to millions of new people - families, friends, and people of all ages. There’s nothing like it on the market.”

Sharing the limelight with Kinect at the launch was Xbox Live. Speaking at the launch event, Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live product manager for
Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the service is about “building communities and connecting people to each other and to great content”.

With an Xbox 360 and broadband internet connection, users can now connect and join Live for free to access their personal profiles with Gamerscore, Gamertag, Avatar; access the Xbox Live Games Marketplace; and access free game demos. An upgrade to Xbox Live Gold membership allows users to play games with their friends online, including Kinect titles, or video chat with Video Kinect. It also allows users to receive early access to content and exclusive Gold discounts.

An Xbox Live Gold 12-month membership will be available for R599. A three-month membership will cost R199, with numerous launch specials available.

“This is an exciting step forward in the experience we can give our loyal and committed Xbox communities,” said Burrowes. “Xbox fans in South Africa will now be able play the best games in the industry with the 25 million other Xbox Live users across the world who have made this their online gaming destination of choice.”

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