Seizure-like flailing has never been more fun with Xbox Kinect.
Swing your arms wildly, lean side to side and “accidentally” hit your friend! You’ve now experienced the future of gaming with Microsoft’s peripheral for Xbox 360. Kinect is a revolutionary look at the way players interact with games. Instead of holding a controller, the body itself becomes the controller. Players’ movements translate into in-game actions, where the slightest move can cause interaction with the game. It could completely transform gaming as we know it, but so far it’s still more of an awesome concept than a full-fledged gaming reality.
Xbox Kinect launched in North America Nov. 4, to compete with Playstation’s “Move” and the Nintendo Wii. Microsoft spent a staggering $500 million to market Kinect alone to make sure when you think motion control, you think Kinect. It boasts a hefty price of $150 just for the peripheral as well as a range of low-quality launch titles such as “Kinect Adventures.” Fifteen titles launched at Kinect’s release, which would have been great if even one of them was triple-A quality. Instead, we are given a mix-match of the same types of titles found on the Wii and Playstation Move; the only difference is that Kinect requires no controllers.
Most of the games simply revolve around mini-games that show off the basics of what Kinect is capable of doing. So far, the Kinect is more of a technological demonstration than a full-blown gaming experience. It will take some time for developers to fully integrate it with their games, much like the Wii had troubles with at first. It can be fun with friends, but probably not much more until other developers pick it up. With so many games out today having to come out on multiple platforms to make any sort of profit these peripherals utilize their full potential on triple A titles due to budgets.
Figuring out how to actually play the Kinect is pretty simple, even for no-gamers. Depending on the game certain physical movements result in actions from your in-game character. It is also stated that Kinect needs 6 to 8 feet of space between Kinect and body.
Setup and Calibration are fairly easy due to Kinect’s simple step-by-step guide and on-screen pointers. It may take a couple minutes to get set up, but proper installation is essential for Kinect to work correctly.
There seems to be some problems with latency, which delays your real movements on screen. This can be troublesome when it comes to games where quick reaction time is the key to winning. Problems involving sitting down have also come up. It seems that the Kinect was made for players to stand while playing, which seems counterintuitive to the sedentary world of “World of Warcraft” style of play.
It is a great invention, and it’s inspiring to see how far games have come in the last 15 years. Truly it is going to be incredible when first person shooters start implementing Kinect’s functionality into their games. The day when you can sit on our couch and lean sideways to look around corners is going to change the way games are played. It will become less about button mashing and more about actions between a controller and your body. However, it will never completely replace the need for a controller for the more in-depth games. Since most of us have live in a confined space, walking in place for hours to make in-game avatars move from place to place is unlikely.
It’s definitely worth picking up — eventually at least. As of now, though, the games are not on par with other platforms and it seems a bit expensive for the average college student budget.