Microsoft’s Kinect for its Xbox 360 console has been in the news for a while now, and it is due for release sometime hopefully in November. Microsoft offered me a chance to give the Kinect a spin before the official media launch next week, so obviously I wasn’t going to say no.
Here’s a disclaimer first: I own a Nintendo Wii and a Sony PlayStation 3, but I’ve never considered getting an Xbox 360, since I figured most of the games I would want to play on the Xbox 360 would probably end up getting ported to the PC sooner or later, so I could wait (like Mass Effect).
Now, I’m pretty much fine with the Wii controls and the more casual games on that console, while I use my PS3 mostly for the other more “hardcore” games. I’m not tempted to get the Move either, since I already have the Wii for that. So will the Kinect change my mind about getting an Xbox 360?
As I entered the Microsoft office and into where a developer console lay waiting with its connected Kinect, MrToffee from GameAxis.com was already having a go with a beta version of the Kinect Adventures game. Watching him weave around the room while flapping his arms was quite amusing, but soon it was my turn to be mocked.
Right from the start, with no calibration, the system recognised me standing there, and I was all ready to go. With no physical controls, the system instead works by recognising around 20 points of a player. So to interact with the screen and activate a button, you’ll have to hold your hand over the button for a short while instead of physically pushing a button. I got used to it quickly however, and was soon flapping around and posing.
Unlike the Wii though, the Kinect really makes you exercise, and I daresay it’s probably more exercise than I’ve done in the past year (because I have a lazy fat behind). I’m quite impressed with the technology though, as the sensor seems pretty accurate and responsive, able to track my movements with ease, except for when I turned to the side to do the macarena, as the game didn’t support said movement.
While this was a preview session only, and with just one playable beta, next week promises to be interesting, with more games like Dance Central available to try at the official media launch. I really can’t wait to see what else is available. While the games may be casual in nature, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we get to play games.
Heck I can’t wait to see what happens when you combine a 3DTV with the Kinect, which can recognise depth, or even using the Kinect as a controller for turning on and off the lights in the house. Who needs a controller when you are the controller? When third party games start flooding the market, we may even see more not so casual games that will entice even the hardcore thumb mashing gamers.
In the best case scenario, I may even lose weight.
Aloysius Low / Former Tech Writer
Tech writer, gadget nerd, cat owner and social media junkie, Aloysius loves exploring the wacky side of tech, while tackling his notebook reviews.