Prior to its launch, we gave you an overview of Sony’s PlayStation Move controller, its games and its capabilities. Now its Kinect’s turn.
As you’re almost certainly aware, Kinect is launching this week and will be available in stores on November 4. Here we will detail Kinect’s core components and highlight a few of the launch games that may be worth picking up.
The Kinect Sensor
As far as hardware is concerned, Kinect is just one piece of equipment. If you own the redesigned Xbox 360 Slim, all you need to do is plug Kinect into your console and you’re good to go. If not, Kinect comes with a separate power cord that you will also need to plug in to power the device. The sensor contains a camera that tracks your body as well as four distinct microphones that are used for voice recognition and noise cancellation.
The Kinect camera will store physical data about your appearance and use that data to recognize you in the future making it simple to sign into your Xbox. Kinect will allow you to play games using your body and you will be able to use voice commands to control various functions on the Xbox such as movies, music and more. You can also use your hands to wave your way around the 360 dashboard.
When it comes to sensor placement, Microsoft recommends that you position the sensor “two to six feet” off the ground and that, generally speaking, the higher the better. They also recommend that you clear the play space of other objects that may interfere with tracking and that you do not place the sensor in direct sunlight or on top of surfaces that may vibrate, such as speakers or subwoofers. It may be tough to find the space to play Kinect if you have a small living room; it’s stated that a single player should stand six feet away from the sensor. For two players, you need approximately eight feet. There is a bit of a disclaimer that states “Play space may vary with sensor placement, game title, and other factors.”
Surprisingly, Microsoft actually has a pretty solid looking launch line up for Kinect. Some potentially fun launch titles include Fighters Uncaged, Kinectimals, Kinect Sports and press darling Dance Central. Ubisoft has been especially keen on Kinect development and recently told Gamasutra “It’s our intent to be the biggest third party publisher on that machine.” The company reportedly has six Kinect titles currently in production. The most comprehensive list of games we’ve found for Kinect comes to you courtesy of wikipedia; you can view the list below to see what games are coming in Kinect’s future.
Body and Brain Connection
Brunswick Pro Bowling
Child of Eden
Deca Sports Freedom
Def Jam Rapstar
EA Sports Active 2.0
Forza Motorsport 4
Game Party in Motion
Get Fit with Mel B
Grand Slam Tennis 11
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1
Kinect Joy Ride
Kinect Star Wars
Michael Jackson: The Experience
Michael Phelps: Push Limit
Milo and Kate
Rise of Nightmares
Sonic Free Riders
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout
You Don’t Know Jack
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
Like Sony’s Move, Kinect faces a tough challenge: the hardcore Xbox 360 owners aren’t going to be particularly interested in the Wii Sports knockoffs and the inevitable flood of games that rely on Kinect as a gimmick rather than a real gameplay experience. A few of the titles in that list look like they may be appealing to current users, but will they be enough? We’ll just have to wait and see.
On the other side of the coin, Microsoft will have to somehow convince the casual audience that Kinect offers an experience they can’t get on the cheaper Wii. As we’ll soon discover, getting set up with Kinect can be quite expensive. Are casual players going to be interested enough to put down the cash required? It’s tough to say, but Microsoft has done a great job marketing the product. Appearances on Oprah and Ellen will go a long way in getting the word out to potential new customers.
It took them a while to reveal the price, but Microsoft has come forth and officially priced the sensor at $150. That gets you the sensor, all the necessary cables and one game, Kinect Adventures. The company has also bundled Kinect with both versions of the new Xbox 360 hardware. You can get the 250GB Xbox 360 Slim with Kinect for $399 or the wimpy 4GB system with Kinect for $299. Either way, you’re saving $50 off the price it would take to purchase the items separately.
Out of the gate, I think Kinect is a bit on the pricey side, but it does have a solid set of launch titles and the new functionality it brings to the Xbox 360 may just be worth the price of entry. What do you think? Is Kinect going to make its way into your home this week or will you be staying far away from Microsoft’s motion controller?