On Thursday the Xbox finally entered the realm of motion-controlled gaming with the release of Kinect. For those of you who don’t know, Kinect is a camera that senses where your body is in space, allowing you to use it as the controller. It also has a bunch of other cool features, like voice commands and facial recognition (this video from G4 is a nice breakdown of what the device can do, and I’ve also included it at the end of the post).
Needless to say, gamers have been excited about this since it was announced in June of 2009. But then Microsoft dropped the bomb: a $150 price tag for Kinect, and $50 per game. It seems like kind of a steep charge considering that you’re paying for what seem to be fairly shallow and gimmicky games. So is Kinect worth the expense? Let’s see what some news sources are saying about it:
Essentially, that Kinect is flawed. While it’s a glimpse into the future of gaming–or the future of tech–the concept just isn’t completely fleshed out yet. They note that it feels unimpeded in comparison to the Wii and Playstation 3, which both use controller-based motion controls, but that it “needs lots of improvement before it advances from nifty gimmick to fully functional hardware.” Check out the full review here>>
That Kinect offers a novel way to experience video games. But the question remains: is this just a gimmick, or can it be integrated in to real games? Kotaku also points out that Kinect did not launch with any power titles (i.e. Wii Sports), and that cost will deter a lot of gamers. In the end, they echo Wired: Kinect is the future, it’s just not fully cooked. Check out the full review here>>
Don’t bother, yet. While IGN admits that using Kinect is a completely unique experience, they chastise it for complicated setup and lag issues. However, they make the important point that Kinect’s intended audience, casual gamers, won’t be judging it as harshly. It’s fun, but it’s not $150 fun. Check out the full review here>>
Play it at a rich friend’s house. While Kinect may be really, really cool, there’s no need to drop that kind of money on it just yet. Only time will tell if it becomes the must-have Christmas gift of the season, or if it integrates well with more professional titles, but until then, we can wait.