LOS ANGELES — Go ahead and look in the mirror. You're looking at the latest game controller for Microsoft's Xbox 360.
That's right, it's you! Microsoft took the idea of the Nintendo Wii motion controller five steps further by allowing us to control our games with our bodies — there's nothing you have to hold.
It's called "Project Natal," which sounds like a top-secret government operation, or a new energy drink. Microsoft is known for changing the name of its products before they launch, and I sure hope it does in this case.
But despite the funky name, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing the demo during the Microsoft press conference on Monday at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles.
When you consider the underwhelming reception given to Windows Vista, the Surface interactive table, the Zune portable media player and Windows Mobile, it's not a stretch to say that Natal could be Microsoft's home run of the decade.
Natal uses cameras and a microphone mounted to a Wii-style sensor bar to detect the user. It recognizes movements, talking, and can even tell the difference between me and my grandma, and not just because she's better looking.
The system has plenty of goodies, such as voice and face recognition, video chatting and speech commands. After scrolling through your movies with a mid-air hand wave, just call out "Play movie!" and "Steel Magnolias" will start rolling. Love racing games? Why not grip an imaginary steering wheel and burn rubber?
Don't worry about buying a whole new console — Natal is an add-on accessory for all existing Xbox 360s. That's great news for gamers who are tired of shelling out big bucks every five years for a whole new system.
Of course, everything looks great on stage at a well-produced Hollywood-style event. The real test will come in your living room when Uncle Chester has to catch an imaginary fish with his imaginary rod at the next family gathering.
If it's done right, every family will want this. If it's done wrong, you'll be dusting off your Wii bowling shoes and it will be a big embarrassment for Microsoft. But it certainly seems like Natal's got tons of potential.
It may be fun to play virtual horseshoes or lawn darts with your 5-year-old, but what's in it for hardcore gamers?
Microsoft Corporate Vice President John Schappert, who led the keynote address, told me that he's excited to see what happens now that developers are able to get their hands on the development kit for Natal.
Will we see "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" and "Halo" using this new controller-free technology? Schappert says that's what Microsoft is hoping for.
So that means you could be diving behind your couch to avoid an incoming grenade attack. Or jumping off the coffee table to ambush a Nazi in "Saboteur."
I recommend stretching first and wearing sweatpants.