Yes, Kinect is awesome

When I was in Redmond a couple weeks ago I had a chance to try out the new Kinect. When I got home, I decided to plunk down the $299 to replace my ancient, mothballed, haven’t-used-it-since-2006 original Xbox 360. It was so noisy that I honestly couldn’t find a place for it, even though it would have been a useful Media Center Extender device somewhere.

The package arrived last week, along with two games. Over the weekend, I set it up, taking advantage of the opportunity to do some wiring cleanup as well.

I don’t have time to do a full review, but I can do this short one: It rocks. It’s not perfect, but it is awesome and feels almost magical. The technology takes a little getting used to (and I suspect will improve with updates in the next 6 months or so), but once you adjust, it is a blast to dance, bowl, or play table tennis by just jumping around in front of the TV. It’s also giving me a chance to rediscover the other parts of the Xbox experience that have gone under my radar because I never used it.

Amusingly, the Kinect controller doesn’t just watch, it snaps pictures along the way, which you can save and share. This one, for example, shows a completely bewildered Lucy the Springer Spaniel, who cannot quite figure out why her human is holding her arm up:


Anyone else get a Kinect yet? If you’re thinking about getting one and you’ve got questions, ask away in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Yes, Kinect is awesome

  1. We got one for our son for Christmas which means we can’t open it until then! I don’t know, I might have to give him an early Christmas present…

  2. “awesome” is a strong word. The technology behind it is awesome perhaps, but the implementation is very poor. The response time is extremely slow, with a distracting lag that makes gameplay needlessly frustrating. The lighting in the room has to be ideal for the Kinect camera to work properly, and i as able to confirm that it does indeed have difficulty tracking my nephew’s darker hued school friends. A “feature” thats challenging to explain to children

    My nephew of 12, when I asked him if we wanted it for Christmas, said it was “an epic fail” and would prefer the Playstation Move.

    Kinect is Better in theory than practise.

    1. Yes, the camera needs light. We have a well-lit room. There’s no apparent lag. We had a lot of fun, and nither of us is a gamer at all. i think it’s awesome. You are enitled to your alternative opinion. But try adding some light bulbs first. 😉

  3. The key fact may be that you aren’t a gamer at all. It’ll be interesting how hard core gamers rate it.

  4. I’m a gamer (although one who binges and purges these days; I might play games every night for a month then not touch one for three) and, while I think the Kinect is neat technology, I’m holding off spending money on it until there is a killer app.

    I’ve already been through the Wii experience of amazing technology which turns out to do virtually nothing for “proper” games. (i.e. Ones I can’t put down and might play for hours each night.) What I’ve seen of Kinect so far makes it look like another novelty “party game” thing that would simply gather dust.

    There are some Wii games which benefit from its controller but few benefit greatly and many actually suffer from poor controls compared to what they’d been if they had used standard button pushes, just because people felt they had to use the motion sensing.

    If someone makes an awesome game for it, that really benefits from the technology instead of shoehorning it in, though, I’ll certainly buy one.

    I think Microsoft made a mistake releasing it with such a poor software line-up, but maybe they’re not aiming the device at people like me anyway. It’s certainly got a lot of people excited. (The kind of people who liked the Wii party games, and that’s a big market which I wouldn’t blame MS for aiming at.)

    Even if it’s not for me, I don’t begrudge its existence. So long as no game I would’ve wanted to play gets spoiled by forced, shoe-horned integration with it.

  5. I have had a chance to play extensively with the Kinect. It is not perfect, but it works really well. I do think MSFT went in the right direction with this technology. Just another Wii knock-off like PS Move really won’t cut it.

    The big question is whether or not the developers can really take advantage of the platform. The initial software lineup is weak in my opinion. I would love to play Halo and use my body movements to control the Master Chief while using the controller to change weapons and fire, etc.

    The Kinect gets confused with small children. It shows my three young daughters standing on their knees more often than I’d like. Also, it will occasionally confuse me with a friend of mine that I set up in our system. There should be an easy way to fix the identification process if the system gets it wrong. All you can do right now is move off screen and then come back and hope it recognizes you.

    Kinect has flaws, but I am convinced they will be fixed shortly over the next few months. I would not let first impressions of this device govern your opinion. It is a new way to control things and takes some getting used to. We all expect motion control to work just like the Wii. That is basically what Sony did. Kinect is different. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. It just takes some getting used to.

    A huge market for Kinect will be stay-at-home moms. The excercise games look good. While Wii Fit and the balance board are fun, they really won’t get you in shape. Doing kickboxing, pilates, or yoga and have the Xbox track your movements is a great idea.

    For $150, if you have an Xbox, the Kinect is a good purchase.

  6. I agree with Ed; The Kinect is awesome. But Ed and I are not true “gamers.” I don’t think that the Kinect is for “real” gamers, yet. Instead, I think youngsters and oldsters (including Ed and myself) will find unparalleled fun using the Kinect, including my wife and Ed’s wife, Judy. And my grandchildren don’t want to leave now! It is awesome! But whether it will eventually find the hearts of true gamers, in the distant future, is an unknown. Thanks, Ed, for the honest review.

  7. First, for those with “lag” in the controller’s response: It’s your TV, not the Kinect or the Xbox360. We got one for our daughter. The whole family has fallen in love with this guy. It beats the pants off the Wii we have for movement based games. Sure, it’s a bit rough around the edges in a few things. But overall it’s so much fun, who cares about the edgy parts? This is the perfect party game device. Though they need to work on the person identification part. They should have some games where the game doesn’t care who’s playing.

    We unfortuantely use it on a DLP based TV. DLPs are notorious for laggy game playing. Really makes both our Wii and the Kinect much more difficult. I understand that many LCD TVs experience lag too. The lag comes from the TV taking so much time to “process” the incoming signal before it appears on the screen. So if you have lag, you need to do what I’ll do very soon which is buy a new TV that has been designed to work well with video game consoles.

  8. 27yo hardcore gamer here – Kinect does indeed rock! I had some quality time with it in a bestbuy. After a pick up soccer match with a bestbuy employee, 2 surprisingly competitive boxing rounds with a 70yo navy veteran boxing champ, and a sweat inducing non-unanimous loss to the advanced CPU opponent, I am stunned by the responsiveness and FUN! It rocks.

  9. Basically anyone who says it sucks or is an epic fail simply hasnet played it or hasent got the 8ft. Best thing since the genesis.

  10. I am very interested in the technology but don’t see myself justifying its purchase to my wife unless there are fun games that I could play with my three-and-a-half-year-old son. Basically, something active that is simple enough to not frustrate him. Are any of the Kinect games like this?

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