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My Experience With Xbox Kinect

I just posted an article yesterday that was about the PlayStation Move, today I’m finally able to talk about Kinect so here is my chance to let you all know what I think. Ok, no more Move talk, lets jump right into the Xbox Kinect and I’ll let you all know what I thought about it from my experience as I’ve had it for a couple months now. And just like my previous article, I hope that this might help your decision making process and do myself and the rest of the staff here at Platform Nation. Leave us your thoughts on this article as well as any others, just something as simple as that really helps to motivate us to continue our work. (And if you enjoy our work, share it with a friend! There are Twitter, Facebook as well as a few other links on this page, feel free to use them.)

Kinect Hardware
This thing is big, bigger then what I thought it would be like. The nice thing about this is that it’s just the one thing, nothing else. If you have a nonslim Xbox 360 then you will have an extra cable in the back of your equipment because you will also have to plug it into a powerstrip while with the slim version just a single cable has to plug into the back of the 360. The whole unit looks a little weird and odd, but it works and it does what it is suppose to do, just not while looking good.

Functionality
I had a lot of issues with Kinect, especially when playing games with friends of different sizes. Whenever my daughter or dogs were around me the unit wouldn’t sense me right and you really need to make sure you have a big open space like what was being said about it earlier in the news. Without the required space you will have issues, I can confirm this. Kinect also features four separate microphones to help with voice control and even communication. Unfortunately I had nothing but issues with this, even after calibrating the unit. Time and time again the unit wouldn’t understand me, I have no accent to speak of, I was annoyed by this. I tried to use Kinect in my game chats as well but that was also nothing but issues, my friends could barely hear me unless I was yelling, but they were able to hear my daughter just fine. This was after I calibrated Kinect.

A big thing that Kinect was suppose to do was make you the controller, to take it out of your hands and actually put you into the game. After playing with Kinect I found out very quick that I like a controller and I like buttons. Buttons work a hundred percent of the time, every time, I wish I could say that about Kinect. Doing things on the dashboard took so much more work then picking up a controller and just going to what I want. Having to wave at the unit, move your hands in certain areas and holding your hands in place might sound awesome at first, all Minority Report style, it gets old very quick. After the third time of going through everything I just picked up the controller and when about my dashboard experience with that, the only time I’ll use Kinect in the dashboard will be to show it off to friends, but not to actually use it when I want to do anything.

Games
A couple weeks ago Microsoft gave everyone in Oprah’s audience a Xbox Kinect, there was a reason for that, it is because that is their target market. As a person that has been playing video games for over twenty years now, I kind of know what I’m doing when it comes to playing them and I know what I like, unfortunately Kinect just doesn’t have it. Here are the games that Microsoft has listed at Xbox.com; Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures!, Kinectimals, Dance Central, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, Kinect Joy Ride, Zumba Fitness, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, EA SPORTS Active 2, DECA Sports Freedom, Fighters Uncaged, MotionSports, Sonic Free Riders, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Adrenalin Misfits, DanceMasters, Game Party In Motion. I’m sorry but as an older gamer, not an old gamer, most of those games just don’t interest me. Most of these are gimmicky type of games, not those that the majority of the people that read our site would actually be interested into. Yes, I’m sure that there will be a few of you out there that are looking forward to more then just Dance Central, but most likely, if you are a visitor of Platform Nation, then you’re not a casual type of gamer and you probably not to excited for these titles.

I did play with Kinect Sports, Kinect Joy Ride and Kinect Adventures! While Kinect Sports was a nice way to demonstrate the hardware, it got old and old fast. Kinect Adventures! was a series of minigame type of games and Joy Ride, ugh, Joy Ride was anything but joyful for me. Leaning side to side or forward and back lost it’s fun after about a single race, if that long, sorry but that is one game that I won’t be going back to.

Overall
I don’t feel that Microsoft is targeting their core group of gamers at all, they moved past us and they are trying to bring in those that are not playing. Is this bad? No, not at all, but this just isn’t for me. I’m sure soccer moms, grand parents and gaming families will have some fun with this, but for how long? The problem with gimmick games are that once the gimmick gets old, so does the game. I can see a lot of buyers remorse down the road with these titles as well as the hundred and fifty dollar unit. That’s a pretty large setback to get into Kinect and to experience the “next big thing” in gaming. So the question is, would I pick up Kinect if I didn’t already have it? No, I wouldn’t. I just don’t feel it’s worth the price nor that the games that will support Kinect will be the type of games that interest me. This doesn’t mean that Kinect is bad, it just means that it isn’t for me.

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  • Stan

    Dear writer, I agree with you in some places but generally strongly disagree with your article. Kinect is not a full-out replacement for all types of controllers, it’s a new way to expore NUI (Natural User Interface). It is not perfect for all games and the UA probably needs to be improved but it’s a revolution and I hope that most people who aren’t “older gamers” will see it this way.

    P.S. The color schema of your webiste gives me eyes an unhealthy workout, please consider user experience as a part of your offering.

    • John McMahon (VastManatee)

      What is “UA?”

  • starcade

    What I’m reading about needing enough distance and the calibration is a real bummer. I had such high hopes for this technology. But perhaps it’ll improve as time goes on.

    As far as the new Xbox interface and Kinect is concerned, I had my doubts how well it would work. I’m still undecided if I like the new interface. It seems slower. I have to admit, I still like the original blade system the best, but whatever. It is what it is.

  • John McMahon (VastManatee)

    None of this surprises me. This is simply another case of tech being ahead of its time.

    I also think replay value will be a huge issue with Kinect titles. When you have played through a game once, it will just feel like you are going through the motions the second time (ba-dum chish).

  • Sam

    just like what they say in every other reviews:
    1) inaccurate in motion tracking
    2) need plenty space to function properly
    3) problems with voice recognition
    4) dashboard gimmick gets old quick
    5) launch games are all aiming at the casual market and leave out their core audience

    seems like no reviews said Kinect can work as it should without any problems.

    This is why I been bashing kinect all along because of the BS advertising MS does.
    Can u believe all this time they been advertising the crap out of kinect from oprah, to QVC, to every other show on tv and been stating, “You Are The Controller” & now that they prolly sold millions already & all of a sudden they pop the great news, guess what all u that got suckered to thinking, “You Are The Controller” was the only way to play games, we will be adding another innovative way of making your kinect experience a better one. With our amazing controller now u can take your experience to another level with this amazing 3d controller that can come in handy if your tired of being the controller. Man I swear these guys get away with all the bullcrap they do. Im never going to buy kinect because MS are the biggest bullsh!t artist in the industry.

  • Makidian

    There will definitely be buyers remorse for Kinect and I would venture that it will start before Christmas, but after Christmas returns are going to be a huge issue. It isn’t even an issue of games that will cause it, it will be an issue of people not being able to play it because of the room size and other limitations. The Wii was cheap and wroked within seconds of turning it on and can work under any conditions, as can the Move, and the fact that Kinect doesn’t work flawlessly is going to kill it with the crowd they are going for because they want ease of use, no hassles, and by the time the core games come out andthey have to use a secondary controller, hype will have died and core gamers won’t care because they were left out from the go and they are the ones who put the Xbox brand where it is.

    Microsoft made a huge mistake launchig this early so they could compete with the Move in the same frame of time but it’s going to lead to its demise because it’s incomplete. By the time they have support for the core, a lot of people will have gone on to the Move because it’s the same setup (camera/controller) and will have a bevy of croe and casual games on the market. The people who buy the bundles for Kinect will remember the crap they had to deal with and it could severely damage goodwill toward the Xbox 3, something tha will already be a problem with early adopters that may hold off on making sure there isn’t another RRoD fiasco next gen.

    In short I guess, the success or failure of the next Xbox is quite literally riding on the Kinect and I think they may have really screwed the pooch on this one because they put so many eggs in the Kinect/casual basket. Not a good thing to do for any company but it’s even worse for a company that’s only in its second generation of consoles and answers to investors more than anyone else, a group of investors that don’t like the money spent on the Xbox brand anyway and want it gone.

  • I’m getting Kinect pretty much because i can and i’v clocked through pretty much every shooter and action game out there, so what i’m all about is that i’m looking for something to keep me excited. Give it some time and games will come out for us MA15+ raving gamers! And when he says “space” how much space?

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