So I’m sure you all have been following the tour for Xbox360 Kinect. If you haven’t you can check it out here. The XBOX360 team and the Kinect team were out in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA this past weekend and I got the opportunity to try out Kinect.
I’ll start with the good. First of all the controller-less action is just as new and exciting as that first strike you got playing Wii Sports bowling. The extent of detail that Kinect tracks is amazing; not perfect but impressive. It followed my every move, if I lifted my arm slightly, the character on the screen did the same. I was captivated just at the loading screen that prompted me to lift my hand and move a zipper from left to right (iPhone slide to unlock style) to start the game. I think Kinect will get much more of a response than Playstation Move has received. I mean has PS Move even launched????? Talk about under the radar! But lets face it Sony, Nintendo did the remote ( Wii-mote) thing already, it’s a bit too late.
My wife and I chose to play ‘River Raft,’ part of Kinect Adventures. The X360 Kinect team explained that this would be one of the games that came with Kinect out of the box. We were able to play the game together, another advantage over Playstation Move. With no need for an extra remote we were both loaded into the game and ready to go. I applaud any game that can get my wife to play Xbox360, so needless to say, I’m looking forward to having this in our home.
The art festival was great and all but naturally the Kinect tour was a big hit here. The lines moved fast and the demo area, once inside, was air-conditioned. On a hot summer day in the ATL, AC was like dry land in Waterworld ( excuse the nerd moment ).
We got there early so the lines you see here were pretty short but by midday and once others were seen walking around the park with their xbox360 guest passes around their necks the lines grew within minutes.
What we didn’t get to try was “Dance Central” in the other Kinect demo room. It was the more popular of the two, however only one person could play at a time. Your friends were welcomed to come in as back up dancers. I’m not sure my wife would have wanted to be my back up dancer so we skipped it.
Then there are the cons. I really like this product and its hard to find many things wrong with it. However, controller-less gameplay seems pretty cool but it does present somewhat of a limitation in game types. Can you imagine playing a shooter and having to stand the entire time pretending to hold a gun? Or how do you control a 3D environment? I hope Microsoft has given this some significant thought.
The other issues I can foresee include glitchy responses. We’ve all seen it with the Nintendo Wii launch title Red Steel the first time you died because the Wii-mote didn’t respond quickly enough you considered throwing your Wii out of the window. SENSE THAT MOTION NINTENDO!!!!!! But seriously folks, the Kinect will open up a new world with Wii like (if not better) controls and HD/Next-Gen graphics. To the casual gamer anything is acceptable but to those Halo or Gears of War players who count on split second accuracy, the Kinect will have a lot to live up to.
Another cool feature of the demo rooms was that they recorded you playing during your session. The guest pass included a personal number to enter at http://www.kinect.me to watch later and you’re able to leave a message to show on the guest book if you chose to do so. I was so excited to share the video of me and my wife playing kinect here but sadly Its been 3 days and the code still does not work. Microsoft, you lose a few cool points on this one. Why offer something and give away guest passes that may or may not work?? Quality control anyone?? I can see if this was an isolated incident but I’ve seen on other blogs that I am not the only one to be disappointed and greeted with this screen:
Overall I’m EXTREMELY excited about Kinect and the potential it has to take gaming to a completely new level. It’s innovation like this that makes me dream about what our grandchildren and their children will be playing in 2102. I hope you get to try Kinect in a city near you. Keep gaming and maybe I’ll see you out there on XBOX | Live!