The new Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect is an amazing improvement to the personal video game playing experience. Kinect is a motion detection based video game interface that uses voice and motion to control the game. It doesn’t require joysticks or hand held controllers of any type. It adds a physical element to home video gaming that hasn’t been there, at least not to this extent, ever before.
It is new, so there are still some improvements to be made, but it is a huge advance over the other motion sensing video games currently on the market and for parents that care about having active kids, this is a device worth knowing more about.
Xbox Kinect – New Use for Old Technology
In fact, the 3D motion detection technology featured in Kinect is not new. The technology has been around for more than a decade. The Kinect breakthrough is that it brought the technology to market at an affordable price for the average consumer. 3D motion detection would typically cost several thousands of dollars but by mass production, Microsoft has achieved a price point that is competitive in the home-gaming console segment.
Microsoft invested heavily in the Kinect during the development and “go-to-market” phase of its product life-cycle. It seems to have paid off. Kinect achieved a monstrous sales record of 1 million units in just 10 days. The Kinect can be purchased as an add-on for existing Xbox 360 consoles or as a bundled kit with both the Xbox 360 console and the Kinect devices in the same box.
Xbox Kinect – How Does it Work?
Kinect’s Motion and Voice Detection technology consist of a camera and four microphones. The microphones will recognize your voice and figure out your location. The camera can sense motion and create gray scale images, which are used to build your avatar. This is how your avatar dances on the screen when you dance, jump on the screen when you jump or falls when you fall.
This surprising level of interactivity in Kinect is a unique experience. PlayStation and Wii both have motion sensing features to an extent but compared to what Xbox 360 and Kinect can offer, those features feel a little outdated and tethered.
Xbox Kinect – Great for New Gamers Too
Compared to the traditional game consoles, Kinect not only targets the regular gaming crowd but is also a family oriented gaming tool. Many people who have never owned gaming consoles can get the Kinect and enter the market at the cutting edge of technology and fun. Many parents who have never played the games with their kids can now be drawn into the experience in much more interactive and interesting ways.
Xbox Kinect – Current Limitations
At the moment, the major limitations for Kinect are two-fold. The first limitation is that the list of available games is pretty short. Currently, there are a couple of dancing games, sports games, a boxing/ultimate fighter type game, and an activity based set of games similar to the Wii Play. The games are fun and they require physical activity to play them, but the mainstream games that most buyers want are not yet available on Kinect.
The second limitation is a small time lag between your movements and the movements of your avatar on the screen. This isn’t always there, but it does require a little getting used to in order to time the game action right.
Xbox 360 with Kinect is a great improvement to the video gaming experience. It overcomes the drawback of being a sedentary activity for kids and gets them up on their feet and moving around. It provides a great family oriented playing experience, again, with physical activity included. And, it is affordable.
If you already own an Xbox 360, you can buy the Kinect and add it on. If you don’t, you can buy both bundled together and start gaming with the latest and greatest as soon as you get it home. There is no substitute for kids playing outside and being active, but when that isn’t an option, Kinect is the next best thing.