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Ballmer: Second generation Kinect content is here

Interactive TV partnerships with Sesame Street, Pixar, Double Fine, National Geographic

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims that the "second generation" of applications for Kinect has already begun.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Ballmer said that software released in the near future will better demonstrate the potential of the device.

"Like any other thing that is new, we came out with a set of applications to show off the platform, to bring others in," Ballmer said. "Our second generation is now happening."

He also cited the Kinect toolkit for Windows, which was released by Microsoft earlier this year after videos of innovative hacks were released on streaming sites like YouTube.

"That kind of opens up a whole new sphere of innovation with Kinect and the PC. This holiday I think you'll see an explosion of things around the Xbox and Kinect."

A significant part of that will be a "playful learning" initiative, in which Microsoft will partner with Seasame Street, National Geographic, Pixar and Double Fine to produce interactive television experiences for children.

"We know that the most effective learning environments for children are those that are engaging and exciting, and that foster collaboration and a positive attitude toward learning," said Alex Games, an educational design director for Microsoft.

"With the controller-free magic of Kinect, we can encourage kids to use their motor skills and to learn using their body in immersive experiences.

The Sesame Workshop is developing two projects: Kinect Sesame Street TV, which will bring episodes from the forthcoming television season to the device, but with additional, Kinect-exclusive interactive features and access to clips from the show's archive; and Project Columbia, a series of interactive storybooks being co-developed with Microsoft and New York University's Games for Learning Institute.

Double Fine is developing a collection of interactive experiences called Double Fine Happy Action Theatre, which Microsoft as a "virtual playground" with "no rules, no menus, no instructions."

Pixar's project, codenamed "Rush", will allow players to scan themselves into the virtual world and interact with characters from Toy Story, Cars, Ratatouille and The Incredibles.

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.