The Electronics Entertainment Expo is underway in California, and Microsoft has kicked things off by unveiling its new Kinect peripheral for the xBox 360. Kinect (formerly "Project Natal") is an advanced camera that can track your body as you stand in front of your TV, enabling what Microsoft is calling controller-free gaming. The primary titles shown were silly ones involving running, jumping, and other types of tomfoolery that will appeal to the casual crowd, but there was a Forza Motorsport tie-in that might just make motorheads take notice.
If you're a Forza fan, then chances are you've spent more than a few seconds ogling the incredibly high-res versions of the cars shown in your virtual in-game garage. Now, with Kinect, it appears as if you'll be able to get a little closer. The camera can track you as you physically walk around, enabling you to "walk around" your virtual steeds. As you move, the perspective shifts. The demo car was a Ferrari 458, naturally in red, which a spokesman was able to explore, crouch to get a closer look at its carbon ceramic brakes, and even open the door with a wave of his hand and take a seat inside.
Gorgeous, but not particularly exciting. A short demo was also given of a simple gameplay mode, which you play by holding your hands in front of you as if you were holding a steering wheel to control the car. This mode looked to be a challenge to see how many cars you can pass in a limited period of time, but with seemingly no way to accelerate or brake we're guessing this will be little more than a passing distraction.
This version of Forza is said to be coming sometime in 2011, so it won't be here for the November 4 launch of Kinect. Neither was there a mention of whether this will be a free update for Forza Motorsport 3 or a whole new title. Given the limited amount of content here, we're hoping for the former. Check out the keynote during which the Kinect-enabled version of Forza was demonstrated after the jump.