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Microsoft Kinect (LPF-00004) (KINECTSPRTGAGA) for Xbox 360
Microsoft Kinect (LPF-00004) (KINECTSPRTGAGA) for Xbox 360
Price Range:$11.24 to $139.88
Control your Xbox 360® with a single gesture or wave of the hand with Kinect™ Sensor Accessory from Microsoft® Corporation.... Read More
Control your Xbox 360® with a single gesture or wave of the hand with Kinect™ Sensor Accessory from Microsoft® Corporation. It comes with Kinect Adventures Game in which you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations. Easy to use and fun for everyone, the Kinect sensor utilizes revolutionary full-body tracking to put you in the center of the fun. This amazing technology allows the sensor to recognize your body and mirror your movements in the game, making you the controller. It incorporates the color VGA Motion Camera with 640x480 pixel resolution for body recognition. Additionally, it includes array of 4 microphones supporting single speaker for voice recognition. With all these and more features, the Kinect Sensor Accessory for Xbox 360 brings games and entertainment to life in new ways. Minimize
8 Reviews from Epinions.com
Nov 7, 2010
Can Micro$oft turn the XBOX360 into a NINTENDO Wii?
Pros: Some interesting motion tracking technology with future potential
Cons: EXPENSIVE. Only white skinned people living in a "properly lit" gymnasium need apply.
The Bottom Line:
I can't recommend Kinect because #1 most people won't be able to use it and #2 its too expensive.
WHAT IS KINECT?
For whatever reason, Microsoft has been intent on turning my once professional looking Xbox 360 into a more kid-friendly Nintendo Wii clone. I’m not sure who’s responsible for this over at M$, but they need to be fired immediately because they are taking the system in a generally bad direction. What started with customizable AVATARS has now culminated into a $150 add-on to give the Xbox360, Nintendo Wii-Like motion sensing capabilities.
Rather than just build an “Xbox 720” (or otherwise named new console) Microsoft is gambling that Kinect will bring in more revenue without them taking a gamble on new system development – even though the 360 started showing its age. And Microsoft isn’t alone. SONY too has released a motion sensing peripheral (which I’ll be reviewing soon) called “Playstation MOVE”.
While both products are just in time for Christmas, they have come long after Nintendo Wii’s revolutionary, inclusionary and fun interface has seen its monthly sales plummet due to lack of third party support and dated hardware capabilities.
Kinect’s sensor is huge. Its roughly the size of a person’s arm and comes mounted on a motorized base.
You will need to plug it into a free USB port on your 360. Unfortunately, if you have an older 360 like I do, with the single USB port on back, you may be already using that port for the XBOX wireless adapter. That means you’ll need to sloppily plug Kinect in the front. Hey Microsoft - why didn’t you make the USB connector a pass through? Furthermore, Kinect requires its own power supply. Therefore, you’ll need to plug in yet another AC adapter, to add to the power your 360 is already sucking down. There is also an orange serial connector included if you have the 360 SLIM but older 360 owners won’t need it.
Connecting the device is simple, but actually implementing it into your gaming habitat is the hard part.
LET ME START WITH THE CONS
Calibrating Kinect is nowhere near as simply pointing a WiiMote at the TV and "just using it". You'll need to set up both the motion sensor and the audio sensors so the system will know what sounds to ignore and what your voice(s) sound like. This is a very sophisticated device designed to track multiple people and up to 48 points of articulation on each.
The first major problem with Kinect comes from the ridiculously specialized space requirements. You need to be able to stand back from the sensor approximately 7 feet. The minimum requirement is 6. That means you will need to use this in a living room or a huge bedroom. Most kids with Xboxes probably don’t have a space that large. Keep in mind, unlike Wii, you’ll be using your entire body. That means that objects on the floor must be cleared lest you trip and bust your head open on a coffee table or something.
You'll also need to space out. Multiple people moving around in close proximity means, someone's gonna get slapped. Just ask my girlfriend :P
The sensor also needs to be placed between 2 and 6 feet from the ground, since it can only raise or lower its field of view by about 30 degrees. If you mount it on a TV, you’ll need to make sure your TV is the proper height to make it work. If not, you’ll need to buy a wall mount for the sensor. Furthermore, if you have Televisions with certain frame depth you may need to invest in one of those mounts because you must ensure that absolutely no angle of the sensor is blocked in any way. For people with SDTV, this is especially important. I tried Kinect on a 32” SDTV and then on a bigger LCD TV with a thinner frame and got better results on the latter.
Marginally better – there was still plenty of lag and plenty of missed movements.
The Kinect also has a problem with sunlight. You’ll need to close your blinds and turn the room lights down in order to be properly recognized by the sensor. Do you have dark skin? Well, you may have problems with the sensor tracking you – especially the facial recognition software. It seems that it works best in a dimly lit room with a white skinned person - similar to the technology of old light guns which tracked white spots on black backgrounds to register hits when plaing Duck Hunt.
Contrast these issues with the Wii. The Wii allows you to have the sensor above or below your TV, doesn’t have any pressing area lighting restrictions and does not require your entire body to move around, which means you won’t be forced to clear a huge space to use it. Wii’s combination of infrared and Bluetooth broadcasted accelerometer technology just seems to function better.
ARE THERE ANY POSITIVES?
Some of the technology in the Kinect is actually pretty amazing. The Kinect has the ability to recognize faces (just like your Apple iPhoto software does) and can even log you into Xbox live once you have calibrated your face into your user profile.
More interestingly, the sensor has the ability to track your hand movements accurately. This is best displayed in the Kinect Sports boxing game. You can swing a right, or a left and the sensor can accurately predict which hand you are using as well as your speed of movement. Its almost eerily accurate.
Contrast this with Wii: You needed two handheld controllers to register punches in Wii' Boxing. Its the same game but Kinect leaves you with nothing in your hands. This can be a positive and a negative because some people will perfer to have a tactile object.
I will be posting reviews of the games themseves when they become available on Epinions registry. For now, I'll just summarize games I am playing to give you an idea how the sensors work.
Want to impress your friends? Buy Kinect’s “Your Shape” which is quite similar to Wii Fit minus the balance board. There is a Yoga game which tracks your full body movements while you imitate an on screen model - which not only “knows” if you are doing the movements wrong or right but also approximates calories burned while you move. "Virtual Smash" allows you to take out aggression on a virtual brick wall by punching at it until you chip it down; "Stack Em Up" has you balancing a "scale" of sorts with virtual weights on it; "LoopaHoop" has you girating your hips to manipulate a virtual Hoola Hoop and "Personal Trainer" has you doing a variety of step and arm movement exercises.
There is also a racing game, “Kinect Joyride”, where you steer a car by holding your hands up and imaginarily gripping a steering wheel. Though you don’t use your feet for gas or brakes, you simply need to rotate your upper body left and right while the sensor tracks your hands to make you steer on screen. I don't like FPS racing games and I think you'll agree it isn't as fun as the latest Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit or even Mario Kart on Wii. You need to push the "wheel" and then pull it towards you to get a turbo boost, but neither boost nor steering feels consistent and you'll feel the control over the car is too weak.
Dance Dance Revolution fan? Try “Dance Central” which using full body motion tracking to project an avatar of you on screen and show your movements on screen. The sensor is able to watch your leg movements and even track your hand movements. You can clap, raise the roof or spin around in place. This was actually impressive and was easily the stand out game of the package thanks to modern songs from Lady Gaga, Christina Milian, Snoop Doggy Dog and Cascada.
The game disk, Kinect Adventures, which is included, allows you to get a good idea what Kinect can do, but it doesn't have any superb games to really suck you in. And you also can't just use Kinect with your current games as a regular controller because any games you wish to use with Kinect must be designed for it. Wii sports was a stronger bundled demo pack in my opinion, but you'll need to also buy Dance Central and Your Shape to help raise your family's interest in Kinect - provided you can get it to work right. My girlfriend likes it.
But, why are these games being sold at $49.99 each? None of them are worth that much.
First and foremost, parents should be warned that Kinect is essentially a web camera. For any of you who can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want your kids having a webcamera in their room that has a field of view wide enough to see their entire body – and bedroom… well…I’ll just let you figure that out for yourselves. Recently, I’ve counted at least 4 lawsuits involving web cameras being used to secretly spy on teenagers and I’ve run into roughly 30 people masturbating on “Chat Roullette”. Keep your kids safe from online predators and hoolagans.
Kinect may be used instead of the XBOX Live Vision Camera. Therefore, one of the first things I did when I got Kinect was use it to complete the “create your face” achievement on Rainbow 6 Vegas 2. I’m guessing the Vision Camera will be discontinued.
Furthermore, Kinect includes a microphone that allows you to use voice commands. Movies you’ve downloaded through Microsoft’s confusingly redesigned “ZUNE” service, sports video on ESPN or songs from LAST.FM radio will allow Kinect to accept simple commands such as “stop”, “rewind”, “play”, etc, but, commands won’t work with regular DVD’s. Not yet anyway.
Say "XBOX" and a list of commands will pop up giving you an idea what you can say.
After a few days of use, I can now say that I AM DISAPPOINTED BY KINECT and I am hoping Playstation Move will be better. Sure Kinect has a couple gimmicks up its sleeves. Its approach to playing sports games and dance games gives me an idea that it will have potential in the future if a third party developer figures out how to make a good wargame, or even a Martial Arts/ Ninja Sword game like “Flash of the Blade” like the one I played while I was living in Japan, but, having to play a game by moving around is tiring – as Wii has shown us, and unless there is a steady flow of affordable, high quality games, it loses its appeal really fast (as Wii has shown us).
Another big problem is that Individual users will get mixed results. People living in small apartments or dorms won’t be able to use this at all while people who have those beautiful spacious game rooms like on HGTV will be able too. I like to play games in the dark sometimes but Kinect demands a properly lit room without sunlight. The darker the room gets, the less dark skin it will recognize.
In the end, you have a technology demonstrator device that is more sophisticated than the Nintendo Wii, costs 75% of a new Wii, and is considerably more frustrating to use.
How does that sound?
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