Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect is an amazing piece of technology that allows for new and exciting experiences by making you the controller. Kinect contains a video camera, depth sensor, an array of microphones as well as a motorised head and lives above or below your TV. All of this combines to allow controller-free gaming, something that makes the competition – Nintendo Wii and Playstation Move seem like yesterday’s technology.
Controlling your Xbox by gesturing with your hands is something that needs to be experienced to understand entirely. At first it feels foreign, but quickly becomes quite natural and because it is not done excessively, your arms wont get tired. Lets face it, Kinect is the closest you will ever get to being Tom Cruise in Minority Report.
Along with Kinect’s launch, comes a range of new games to take advantage of it. Theres a few options to start with Kinect Adventures, Kinectimals, Dance Central, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, Joy Ride, EA Sports Active 2 and Kinect Sports.
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved provides you with your own on-screen personal trainer, guiding you through exercise routines and fitness games to get you in shape. Because Kinect tracks your entire body, the game can tell you when your not performing an exercise correctly. As you burn calories in the game, you earn Xbox Achievements, motivating you to come back often. Make no mistake these workouts can be hard work and will have you working up a sweat in no time.
Dance Central as the name suggests is a dance game that includes tracks from top artists like Lady Gaga, No Doubt and many more. There’s sure to be plenty of downloadable content in the future to add more tracks. If you have two left feet you, you can play alone in the privacy of your own home. If your comfortable sharing your talents, you can dance with friends and let that competitive streak run free. There’s also multiple difficulty levels when increase the difficulty of moves required and how exact you have to match it. All of this comes together to make for one very enjoyable experience and another heart rate workout.
Another great feature is Video Kinect which uses the video camera to video conference with other friends on Kinect or Windows Live Messenger on the computer. Microsoft have also announced Video Kinect will work with their business software Lync in the future. Unfortunately the quality isn’t HD, just one of those things that had to go to meet the price point.
One feature that is not yet available in Australia is controlling your Xbox with your voice. Speaking commands like ‘Xbox play movie’ will allow for voice control like never before. Support for the Australian accent is reported to be coming in early 2011.
The introduction of Kinect brings with it a whole new set of opportunities for developers to take advantage of. The potential for this device is massive and will only be truly realised 12-24 months from now when game creators can understand it and build new and exciting experiences.
With more than a million Xbox 360’s in homes across Australia, there’s a good chance Kinect will be on a lot of shopping lists. It retails for $199 and comes with Kinect Adventures. Recent articles point to Kinect shortages around the globe, not surprising given that it’s sold more than 2.5 million units in the first 25 days. Kinect is now the fastest selling consumer device in history.
More information is available at http://xbox.com.au/kinect