Kinect sex is here, game company says

It's taken less than two months for a company to successfully work Microsoft's new Kinect motion controller into a sex game demo. The question now is, how far will people take the hit device?

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
3 min read
The Kinect, from Microsoft, has been out for less than two months, and already, an adult game company has produced a demo using the motion controller in a 3D sex game. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Kinect sex has arrived, and it took the adult gaming community less than two months to get there.

Just more than two weeks ago, one of the world's leading experts on sex and video games said that while there were not yet working adult games using Microsoft's Kinect motion controller, the potential was there. That barrier has been broken, as one game company illustrates in a demo for a new game.

The demo (a NSFW YouTube video) comes from ThriXXX software, a maker of 3D role-playing sex simulation games, which said in a statement today that "the open-sourcing of device drivers for Kinect have enabled the...device to be used directly from connected PCs operating on Windows 7...The Kinect interface provides another exciting interface option for users of the sex simulation software to control the experience in extraordinary new ways. Controller-free is the next generation of game user interfaces, allowing users to use gestures, spoken commands, or objects to control in-game action that creates a completely new sex game activity and magical experience."

This image (not video) offers a peek of what ThriXXX has posted on YouTube. ThriXXX

The demo shows that the Kinect is suitable for fairly well controlled hand gestures and that those gestures can be incorporated into a sex game. Without being too graphic, it's clear that the game makers imagine that players will be using the Kinect to interact directly with women (for now) in the game.

And Kyle Machulis, who is considered one of the world's experts on sex and digital toys and games, said he's impressed with how quickly the Kinect community has taken the new device and advanced it for adult purposes.

"The Kinect is obviously a natural technology for this kind of usage, since the 'hands-free' approach means that the user's hands are available for other actions, be it manipulating the game, or themselves--or, in this case, possibly both at the same time," Machulis told CNET. "I'm impressed with the quick development turnaround for getting new controls into their engine like this, especially using resources from the open-source community."

However, Machulis said he wasn't sure about whether ThriXXX's Kinect implementation would be kosher under the Kinect's license agreement. "There's been some question about whether you can use the Kinect in commercial projects," he said. "I don't quite understand it myself, since I'm not sure you can [control, through end-user license agreements,] hardware like that, but it's something that needs a nice lawyer response."

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Machulis also pointed out that OpenNI, "an industry-led, not-for-profit organization formed to certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of natural interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware," has begun offering its own motion controller (see video below) with open-source drivers. The $199 camera comes, in part, from PrimeSense, which Machulis explained is behind the depth-sensing technology in the Kinect camera.

"The advent of the PrimeSense reference kit could completely assuage fears about using the Kinect for further adult development," Machulis said.

ThriXXX admitted that it doesn't have a green light from Microsoft to move ahead with its Kinect implementation.

"We do not have permission from anyone on any of this stuff, and have been using stuff from the hacker community to do a working prototype, following what [is] going on in that world," Brad Abram, ThriXXX's vice president of business development, said in an e-mail to CNET. And with the OpenNI drivers, we "don't know how [Microsoft] can contain the current activity worldwide. We have no idea how [Microsoft] will react...but we think the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak.

"In regards to commercial games, we do not sell at retail, do not have a need for [game ratings], and everything is done offshore in Europe, where [Microsoft] is being lambasted by the courts for [anticompetitive] behavior. If we have to, maybe we would give it away for free as part of the open-source community efforts, but we don't know yet where any of this will lead."

For his part, Machulis is pleased that the ThiXXX met one of his general goals for the Kinect and sex.

"Note that this [happened] 10 full days before Christmas," Machulis wrote on his blog, "which was my deadline for when we'd see our first public usage of the Kinect in porn."