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Microsoft Kinect - Initial impressions and thoughts

by: Chuck -
More On: Kinect
Microsoft’s Kinect is finally out in stores and gamers will now finally have the chance to see if the system lives up to all of the hype Microsoft has been kicking out since they announced it last year. Here are some basic impressions after spending some quality time with the final Kinect hardware and software.
  • The camera has its own boot sequence where it moves up and down to calibrate itself. I’m glad the camera doesn’t scan left or right which is good as that would complete the creepy Skynet/Cylon vibe.
  • The launch code/hardware has significantly less lag than the version seen at E3 and/in the Macy’s stores, but there’s still some perceptible lag especially while jumping.
  • If you have dogs, you want to make sure they aren’t playing around your feet while you are using the Kinect as they become instant, moving tripping hazards.
  • Speaking of Dogs, the Kinect system will recognize them as players if you hold them up on their hind legs. Of course that could just be the system recognizing me behind the dog.
  • Ceiling fans are more of a threat with Kinect than with the Wii, especially if you are tall. Yes I learned this the hard way
  • If you are heavy and self-conscious, the Kinect camera isn’t going to help. SD cameras add about 10 lbs, HD ones add 20+ lbs.
  • Tuck your shirts in, the games likes to take pictures when you are jumping which can lead to inadvertent wardrobe malfunctions that are caught on camera.
  • Kinect Sports/Kinect Adventures are more fun than you would think. Kids and non-gamers will eat these up.
  • If you are out of shape you will break a light sweat after about five minutes in most of the games.  This isn’t a bad thing.
  • Playing any Kinect game for any period of time can be considered a light workout.  Stretch accordingly before you start playing.
  • Part of me wonders about wear and tear on carpets as you’re going to be doing a lot of running in place, sliding and jumping,which could create wear spots if you’re not careful.
  • The space requirements are dead on, people with small play areas in front of their console are going to have significant issues, especially for multiplayer games.
  • As of right now I'm not sure I could recommend the camera to core gamers as there's not a single launch title outside of Dance Central that will even remotely appeal to them.  If you've got a family with kids or want a system that will get you in shape then yeah it's going to be worth every penny.
The Kinect feels like the launch a new console in that the technology is sexy but imperfect, there aren’t a lot of great software titles out for it yet, and there are some kinks to work out. 

I’ll have more impressions of the hardware and software as I spend more time with the system