/ Technology

Microsoft proves Kinect doubters wrong

People playing Kinect

Microsoft’s foray into motion-controlled gaming has not only come with a huge marketing spend, it’s had its fair share of doubters. Kinect may not fit hardcore gamers, but it’s certainly cornered Nintendo’s casual crowd.

Earlier this week, a friend of mine with no previous interest in gaming was quizzing me about Kinect, having seen numerous TV and press ads.

‘Where can I get one?’ they asked. ‘I suppose this means the Wii is old hat now?’ My heartiest congratulations to the Microsoft PR team, you’re doing a great job.

I’ll admit I was sceptical of Kinect (née Natal) when it was first announced. Microsoft kept its controller-less motion sensing device a closely-guarded secret, and press demonstrations appeared to be carefully orchestrated.

Rumours about its limitations flew around the net continuously. You couldn’t use it sitting down. Only two people could play at the same time. It didn’t recognise certain accents. Bill Gates was using it to spy on your cat (apparently Bill loves cats).

First impressions of Xbox Kinect

However, a few days away from the UK launch on 10 November, I find myself warming to the concept of Kinect. Although the tech is far from perfect, there’s no denying that it is impressive. It would take a heart of stone not to be thrilled the first time you stand in front of the device, which replicates your movements exactly on screen.

My first Kinect experience was with the bowling game in Kinect Sports. I’ll admit I was apprehensive to play a game that seemed nothing more than a high-resolution version of something Wii Sports did three years ago, but it pulled me in straightaway, and genuinely felt like a totally different experience.

Kinect Adventures and Joy Ride had a similar effect, and it’s hard not to play them without a big stupid grin on your face (especially with other people).

The clever line up of launch titles is clearly designed to pull in the casual crowd. Dancing, sports and racing are all represented. And then there’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which may be something of a dirty word to current gamers, but is still a recognised mascot for anyone who hasn’t touched a games console in the last 20 years.

Kinect perfect for the casual crowd

Kinect isn’t going to replace the traditional controller by any stretch. Most games require inputs far too complex for this sort of device and there are some genres that I just can’t imagine working. First Person Shooters, for example, would be dreadful. And I don’t fancy a Kinect version of Civilization. The buttons on Sony’s PlayStation Move motion controller should have much more success here.

However, for the ‘pick up and play’ types, Kinect is pretty much perfect. I can imagine that the Wii’s of the world are in danger of being relegated to kids bedrooms, with Kinect taking pride of place in the living room.

Yes, the tech needs a bit of polish, and we’re going to want some games that don’t just ape the Wii’s line-up, but despite this, Microsoft has proved itself to all those doubters out there (including this one). Your move Nintendo.

HeavY says:
5 November 2010

So, long story short, if you are a casual gamer, you may be entertained by Kinect, if not, go find something else

Diago says:
5 November 2010

Well i return mine right away after playing on it for 45 minutes.
After the lengthy setup i noticed i couldn’t have any mights on BEHIND me…
Then i noticed my living room was to small, but after fixing most of that changing around stuff, the biggest let down of all.

When i moved around, the game would pick up on it in a prety long delay, so much lag.
I returned the product.

Flax says:
5 November 2010

As a real gamer, I have absolutely ZERO interest in Kinect. What a piece of casual garbage. The only interesting thing is the way the camera tracks you when you’re video chatting–that’s it.

doa766 says:
5 November 2010

it proves them wrong? wow, you mean that there IS something worth playing with Kinect?

that would be great news, but it’s not happening

Anonymous says:
5 November 2010

Nobody likes Kinect.

wampdog29 says:
6 November 2010

I was the same way. Now I am a believer. And, while it does have flaws and a few hiccups, it’s fun as all ****. I think many people who have real bad lag issues are playing on projectors or DLP TVs. Projection has always had the most lag in regular video games, think about how bad it would be with Kinect.

And, to all those “real gamers” that won’t play Kinect or Wii or even Move for that matter: if YOU were real gamers, you would own them all and play them all.

It’s okay, I understand. You are a fraid of anything different. The history of the human race has always shown this. Meanwhile, I’ll be having a blast playing Kinect online.

wtfwtfwtf says:
6 November 2010

REAL gamers play games for their quality. NOT popularity. XBox 360 pretty much is not for true gamers because most of its games are just bundles of ****. Not even Halo is a good game and neither are games like Call of Duty. Its just bs hype that casual gamers hype up that just because its a first person shooter they think they are hardcore gamers.

if people were afraid of anything different they would not be playing on their PS3’s. The kinect is NOTHING new u fool, the eyetoy can do that, this is not the first time we have seen this so called ‘new tech’!! Mate, I’ve used the kinect and its a piece of trash!! There is not even ONE decent game u could use the kinect for. Lagging is ****, u have to have a large TV and have to have a fairly large living room cuz u cant be close to the TV, the kinect has no wide angle lens! U talk about people being afraid of new things?? The how come all u americans went and bought the xbox? THATS nothing new, its an old PC inside a box called an xbox! Yr talking rubbish u donkey!

Now, I’m just wondering when a 3D-hologram projector will be available… In this case, you are the controller and your room is the game. This could be awesome 🙂

Just think about you playing Call of Duty or Halo in your room with holograms?

I’m going to find a way to submit this idea to Nintendo, Microsoft & SONY because the first launching this is the first who’s going to kill all the others…

Well 3D gaming could get close to that… I’m just waiting for 3D table tennis with Move – the ball will look like it’s actually coming out of the screen to your ‘racket’.

I’m sorry but the only doubters proved wrong are the people saying it was ****, when in fact its ******* *****!!! What kind of serious game do u expect to play with this webcam? I used it at a Kinect event a couple months ago and wasn’t disappointed, it was exactly the kind of **** I expected. You have to have a large TV and have to stand quite a ways away in order for the cam to pick u up (it has no wide angle lens or zoom, the eye toy does) and your movements are not even properly picked up, only good for silly little games, no way in satans **** will ever pay for such nonesense!!

Hi John, great to see your passion but if you could calm your language a bit, as we advice in our commenting guidelines, that would be great. Thanks.