36 hours of Kinect – initial thoughts

On Saturday, I bought a Kinect for my Xbox. I loved the idea of the tech, and thought, that like the Wii before it, could provide better gameplay for Liam, whose hands are still too small to properly use a regular xbox controller.

And…I have mixed thoughts on it so far. In no particular order:

  • The “wow” factor truly is there. I love that I can sit down on the couch, wave & it’ll log me in. I like saying “xbox play disc” and it’ll launch a game. I like the Minority Report-feel of moving things on the dashboard with my hands.
  • I’m not a fan of the 2 games we have: Kinect Adventures & Kinectimals. While both showcase the power of the device well, they’re not terribly interesting (although Liam seems to really dig them).
  • There is a clear delay between my movement and the response on screen. This has led to some frustration for both myself & for Liam for twitch-games on the system.
  • There seems to be some physics interpretation issues – throwing a ball often doesn’t seem to go anywhere at all where I’d expect a real ball, had I thrown one, to go. But as there’s no real “let go of the ball” motion, this makes sense – the system has to guess that.
  • Much like the Wii fit, I’m discovering that I generally prefer to play games sitting down to relax, not to get all worked up. That being said, the exercise/workout genre will likely be really excellent. I’ll know more in a week or so when EA Active 2 comes out, which I plan on buying.
  • The amount of room I’ve had to clear to be able to properly play really is big. So big that it wrecks the layout of our family room. This is partially due to some poor architectural decisions (by the house builders) and poor furniture decisions (by us), but the end result is that the TV is so far away that I have to strain my eyes to read small print or watch a puck during a hockey game.
  • I think because of the height difference between myself & Liam, we have so far had a really hard time with the Kinect keeping track of both of us.
  • Now that I have a Kinect, I want a bigger TV.  I’ve figured out a way to re-arrange the family room that should work for the above, but I don’t know when I’ll actually get around to doing that – but for anyone who has a TV 42″ or smaller (like us), you’re probably going to want a bigger TV once you’ve rearranged your tv-watching space. Or put a couch on wheels.

So as you can see, there’s lots I’m not a huge fan of. But I still really love the device. It’s still really early days and, much like the Xbox itself, it’ll take months, possibly years before we see developers truly doing innovative things with it. & I look forward to trying those out.

One last thought: It had occurred to me that a Kinect version of, say, Portal, would be really, really awesome.

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