Kinect: What’s Next?

I have had my Kinect for a little under a week now and I am loving it. It is a really powerful piece of hardware, but you have to ask yourself: What’s next when is comes to software. Of Course there are games like Kinect Sports and Dance Central that will tide gamers over for a while, but how long will these games keep us quiet. We have heard critics speak about how Kinect is not geared toward the hardcore gamer. With it’s current line up of games, this is completely true. The Playstation Move has been integrated into games already in the PS3′s library and all I see in the current Xbox library is Harry Potter (which had horrible reviews). With this being said, I am still extremely optimistic about what is to come with the Kinect. For now I am satisfied with my experience. What about you? How has your experience been with Microsoft’s entry into the motion gaming race?

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Spike Video Game Awards – Studio of the Year

Bioware wins studio of the year on the Video Game Awards. With games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, how can you argue. Good Job Bioware…..by the way. I wonder what their new game will be? Will it be a MMO as some have speculated…..Maybe the next Mass Effect. I will be staying tuned to find out.

 

Affordable Wii Alternative!?!?!???

So I was out and about and stumbled across this in a popular drug store….

generic_wii

Zone??

It’s called the ZONE.  Sounds kind of lame but what can you say for an ‘0ff-brand’ version of the Wii.  Lets face it folks in this economy, no idea is purely original.  First it was the Playstation Move and Xbox360 Kinect and now ZONE!  This is indeed a poor mans Wii and it comes equipped with 32 games ( for the small version: seen at the top of the photo)   and then a whopping 60 games for the larger system.  I didn’t capture the price for the  small system but the larger one is only 39.99…. but wait is that a sale sign for 29.99??????  😀    I somehow doubt this system is competitive for holiday sales against the Move and Kinect systems but hey at least they have bang for your buck right?  ….. right???

Well take a look at the large box, it even has ACCESSORIES included. These are the peripherals some folks spent big bucks on for the Wii from both Nintendo and a host of other third party manufacturers.  It looks like it comes with a tennis racquet, golf club and baseball bat and TWO “motion controllers”

I can’t say I was shocked to see this Wii imitation but I can say that they didn’t do much to mask the fact that this was purely an attempt to grab some of the holiday cash for those less informed consumers who believe that one thing is equal to another.  It is somewhat irritating to know that some kid wanting a Wii will open one of these up on Christmas morning to be sorely disappointed.  It reminds me of the people who ran and got a Samsung Instinct saying ” It’s just like the iPhone” *SMH*

I can safely say  DigitalDpad lists this one as a DON’T BUY!

Kinect 6 feet minimum distance!?!

I know I posted about this in my lengthy review but I had  to reiterate this one.  Take a look at the back of the box for Your Shape | Fitness Evolved….

More like 6 inches...

I can’t help but feel a little duped by this.. I can’t imagine a response from Microsoft or the folks who designed this cover for the game… but it would probably be something like  “Move to a bigger room…”

Kinect Review – TV mount not included? no Netflix??

Anything missing from this picture?

Well folks,  its been a little over 18 hours since Kinect was release on the east coast and I still need to catch up on some sleep.  I spent the early morning hours setting up Kinect and marveling at all the things we’ve drooled over watching demonstrations.   Now that the “honeymoon” phase is over  I can get down to reviewing the product.

I like it.  Simply said. But there are things that I’m not happy with. So I’ll start with the cons and then talk about how much I enjoyed it.  😀

The first surprise was to find that the mount attachment for placing Kinect on top of your flat panel TV is NOT INCLUDED….. YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY NOT INCLUDED.   This was a disappointment  especially after seeing video after video and demonstration after demonstration where the Kinect was featured mounted above the television.  Would it have really been so hard to put this little piece of plastic in the box Microsoft?   Imagine my dismay when I saw this….

SOLD SEPERATELY!?!?!

How much could they possibly sell this for? Anything above 5 bucks would just be robbery.  Look Gates, we’re already buying a NEW version of the Xbox360  and a NEW peripheral, you could at least give us a mount to put it on our LCD/Plasma/LED/….  for $150 bucks I should be able to mount it on my HEAD!

Moving on…

“XBOX PLAY…………NETFLIX PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!………………….XBOX STOP……….um NETFLIX STOP??……………….uh  HELLO??????????????????????

So after a little two sided tape and a WOOOO-SAH, I jumped into the dashboard to find another disappointment. Remember the product vision,  all the families having a great time watching Netflix together?  Yeah? Me too, well it turns out that the Netflix application is not yet “Kinect Ready”  I was unable to find anyway to control the Netflix application with the Kinect sensor.  Furthermore don’t get excited about navigating ANY of the regular menus with Kinect.  As far as the dashboard goes  you have to enter the ‘Kinect Hub’ somewhat of a sub menu to the actual dashboard.   I wonder why this was  still needed after the huge overhaul the dashboard took for the fall update???  Personally I would prefer to be able to control any and every part of the 360 dashboard with the Kinect Sensor… but that’s just me I guess.   *SHRUG*

One other tidbit on the CONs side is the distance requirement.  The Kinect expects that you be at least 6 feet away from  the Kinect sensor.   Is that average? Go check out your living room now and measure the space between the TV and the couch.. I’ll wait

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Is your living room tall enough to go on this ride???  Chances are, it isn’t.  Kinect Adventures actually suggests that you move furniture if you can.  While I can get over this and calibrate the sensor to adjust for the small play space, this isn’t something their telling you before you buy.  Mom’s and Dads beware,  before your kids turn your family room into a gymnasium.  😀

Don’t misread me guys, I don’t HATE the Kinect, I think like many I was pulled into the hype and expected a perfect product. Lets hope some software patches fix some things ( ahem.. Netflix) and we can all move forward amicably.

Now for the good stuff.  Kinect does live up to its reputation in many other ways. Its really fun moving around in the ‘Minority Report’ style we all have been waiting for.  The responsiveness is extremely smooth and surprisingly accurate. People will want to call this a ‘Wii Killer’ but its simply a new animal, completely set aside from the Wii. It has some of the same quirks we saw with the Wii launched and the same basic functionality games at launch.   We’ve all seen how the Wii has continued to give developers a chance to be creative, so I’m excited about future titles for Kinect.  ‘The Micheal Jackson Experience anyone????’   Pardon the nerd moment but I think we’ve all danced like the King of Pop in our living room at some point, now we’ll have an excuse.  Sources say it wont be released until March of 2011.  I think its worth the wait.

Somewhere between being able to navigate the Zune and ESPN apps with a wave of my hand or  Telling the XBOX to pause when the phone is ringing and a video is playing, I was impressed!!!   The sensor does a great job of recognizing your voice, unlike many of the other voice recognition technologies that mistake  “Play Next Track” for “Disable Bluetooth”   😐

The games are fun, it ties in the more casual gamer, and to add a tag line that everyone seems to love nowadays,  ‘This changes everything, again’

I’ll be reviewing  ‘Your Shape: Fitness Evolved’ on my next post, stay tuned!!

How are you spending your Holiday 2010 gaming dollars?

It’s late October. Do you know what that means? It means…GAMES!!!!! The holiday release window is in full swing. For some, this is a wonderful time to sit in front of your TV, controller in hand, having to remind someone to tell you to blink. However, for me, it just means my pile of shame will increase exponentially. With so many games coming out I started to wonder who actually has the money to buy all this fun. With new franchises, sequels, and a couple big peripherals, it can be a hard sell from a publisher’s perspective to make people hand over cash for their products.

If you ask me, my GameFly Q is a gift from the gods that allows me to enjoy all of that holiday goodness. But others might feel different. I remember the days when I would do odd jobs around the house and clean gutters around the neighborhood just to get that one title that I had been eyeing for months. There has to be a lot of 2010 teens out there in the same situation. Also, let’s not forget those college students holding on to those last few dollars refund dollars trying to decide between food and Call of Duty Black Ops. So I ask you, the people, how do you spend your gaming dollars?

Some people will choose a game that offers an engrossing story. A game with a world a player can get lossed in and characters with substance could be worth your money. These are games that you can quest to your heart’s content and include story archs that dissapear from the choices that you make.

    Dead Rising 2 (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Fable III (PC/Xbox 360)
    Fallout: New Vegas (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)

Maybe you’re more of an action game person. You enjoy combos, multipliers, and maybe a little story. The following games will lead you down a path of at least a different story, but you can take them out however you want.

    Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Disney Epic Mickey (Wii)
    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (PS3/Xbox 360)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want to stab and shoot guys. Give me an assault rifle, pistol, and a combat knife and I’ll wreak HAVOC!!! If that’s what you’re into, you might want to check out these titles.

    Blacklight: Tango Down (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)
    Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
    Medal of Honor (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
    Vanquish (PS3/Xbox 360)

“Wait, what if I have a wife and kids and might not be able to get any of the previous games if they can’t partake?” Well if this is you, I introduce to you the Playstation Move and Microsoft Kinect. Whether you want to wave an ice cream cone in front of your TV while looking like an idiot or just want to look like an idiot (albeit with family and friends), you can try a few of these games.

    Dance Central (Xbox 360)
    EyePet (PS3)
    Fighters Uncaged (Xbox 360)
    Kinectimals (Xbox 360)
    Kinect Adventures (Xbox 360)
    Kinect Sports (Xbox 360)
    Kung Fu Rider (PS3)
    Racquet Sports (PS3)
    Sports Champions (PS3)
    Your Shape Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360)

Lastly, if you’re feeling kind of nostalgic, these two Wii games might hit the spot.
P.S. I didn’t have a category for these games.

    Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
    Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)

So, which ones will you choose? Talk amongst yourselves in the comments below.