Microsoft reported sales of one million Kinect accessories in 10 days, suggesting that consumers are ready to ditch handheld game controllers in favor of actually becoming the controller. Kinect uses multiple cameras, a microphone and an infrared scanner to sense physical movement, which is used to interact with video games. Screen and menu navigation, too, is controlled with a player’s hands and arms, akin to the virtual interface envisioned in the movie Minority Report. It sounds complicated, but Kinect is actually fun and intuitive. Even better, it gives parents a chance to be competitive and even win video game against the kids!
My wife bought a Kinect a few days ago, and within five minutes after unboxing, we were jumping around the family room in front of the television set. Aside from the great workout you get when playing Kinect-enabled games, it’s downright enjoyable to become a part of the game. As we move around in real life, dodging obstacles, for example, our virtual on-screen characters mimic the movements, with a barely noticeable delay.
Folks with smaller rooms may should take note, however: For single player games, the Kinect accessory recommends at least six feet of space in front of a television set. For two-player game titles, the recommended space bumps up to 10 feet. Our best two-player experiences are when we’re at the top end of that range: a good distance away from the Kinect sensor.
We’re having fun with Kinect, and based on the sales data, Microsoft may have another winner for its Xbox game console. I’m looking forward to what other types of games are developed for the Kinect, however, since many modern titles use complex button combinations requiring a controller.
I’m interested to see how this technology could eventually become a part of future computing as it decreases in size. Instead of mousing around through windows, we could some day be waving our way around a computer interface. For now though, I’m just happy I still have enough energy to beat the kids in a video game, even if I look stupid doing it.
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