Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get a Kinect and Get off the Couch

This past holiday season our household, like 2.5 million other households, added the Microsoft Xbox Kinect. It was really the first attempt by the team at Microsoft Xbox to target the casual user, kids and parents.

The concept if you are not familiar is not new. Way back when PC's ruled the games market Microsoft introduced controllers that were controlled by the physical movement of the controller, though they were not popular due in part to the lack of supporting games.  Several years later along comes Nintendo and the Wii. This took wireless controllers and physical movement to a new level. This level of interaction raised the bar in video game immersion and made video gaming a family affair. This past year Sony entered the mix with their Move product... sorry Sony, I am not impressed. It is a poor imitation of the Nintendo Wii so why bother. 

The Kinect takes the idea of game immersion to the next level with full body interaction. The current games have some fun camera features to play back all those funny faces and body contortions that go along with the game play.  For now the breadth of games are rather limiting, - think mini games of various sports, dance and exercise. But they are actually fun to play, though graphically light. My kids can spend hours jumping, swinging, kicking and laughing all while trying to catch their collective breath.

The devise actually does quite a remarkable job of tracking the user’s movement and even has cool user recognition features to indentify you.

It’s not for the hardcore gamer just yet. But, it is however a vision into the future. Graphics will improve. Game developers will use the ability to insert the gamer into the game in real time, in real game like situations. When 3D takes hold in homes, so will video game developers and platforms. The doors are now open to create new gaming worlds for kids of all ages to concur.

But that is the future... for now it's a great and easy way to say OK to video games and still keep the kids off the couch.

Dad said it's ok to play

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