A feature for Microsoft's Xbox 360 that uses its Kinect motion controller camera that was first announced several months ago may finally be released next week. The WinRumors web site, using unnamed sources, says that Avatar Kinect will finally become available for free for Xbox 360 owners on Tuesday, July 26. The program was first announced and shown off last January during the Microsoft CES keynote by the company's CEO Steve Ballmer.
Avatar Kinect is designed to breathe some new life into the Xbox 360's player avatars. Using the Kinect camera users will be able to chat with other online Xbox 360 users via their avatars. The Kinect camera will be able to track a user's facial expressions and have those movements translated to the user's avatar allowing said user to communicate with others that are using the same feature. WinRumors states that Avatar Kinect will be released as part of Kinect Fun Labs which launched last month around E3 2011.
In related news, Xbox 360 owners will be required to download and install a new system update for the game console. The Major Nelson web site reports that the update should only take a few moments to download and install. There will be no new Xbox 360 features or content added as a result of the update. However the site says that update is needed "for additional system enhancements coming to Xbox 360 later this year." Microsoft has already announced plans for a major system update later this fall that will add more Kinect features to the Xbox 360 dashboard along with the upcoming Xbox Live TV service.