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June 2, 2010 9:54 AM

D8: Project Natal demo, with video

Posted by Brier Dudley

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- Microsoft didn't provide any new details of its Xbox Project Natal control system at the D8 conference, beyond showing its latest hardware publicly.

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher -- and her enthusiastic son, Louie =- tried the dodgeball game that Microsoft's been using to demonstrate the system. At the end, Mossberg also triggered a feature that displays shareable Polaroid-type snapshots taken of players as they play.

Molly O'Donnell from the Xbox team first gave a technical demo, showing how the system tracks users' skeletons.

She declined to provide the products' final name or other details ahead of product's launch at the E3 game conference in two weeks, saying that's when "the future of fun" will be revealed.

"The future of fun? Because that's what we think of when we think of Microsoft," Mossberg cracked.

The big surprise was that the chief executives and others attending the show - from Steve Jobs to Martha Stewart - will all be sent a free Project Natal controller when it goes on sale later this year.

"There's nothing rich people like better than free stuff," Mossberg said.

A video I took of the technical demo:

Here's Kara Swisher and her son trying it out:

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.