I bought the Kinect upon release but never though about a review but though about writing a Review. So here is my personal experience with Microsoft's Kinect and whether or not I recommend it.
When Nintendo announced the Wii everyone had mixed feelings. Some Developers and Consumers saw the creative potential and others were deterred by the weak hardware such as the lack of a HDD and DVD Drive. But despite such low Specifications, Nintendo manages in trump both Sony and Microsoft in sales and now they both crave a bigger piece of that pie. While Sony has gone with the safer route with the PS Move, Microsoft has focused all their efforts on the Kinect and their controversial way of Gaming but will it pay off?
Hardware and features:
Kinect tracks and translate movement using two IR Sensors and the RBG webcam has practical uses such as facial recognition and taking photos. There are four microphones on the bottom to find different voice from different parts of the room. Microsoft says they are facing downwards for the best sound detection. Click on the link below for a more technical explanation.
Kinect does as advertised and responds to player movements accurately. The UI has been completely designed for Kinect. Anything can be selected by moving the hand over the icon and waiting five seconds for the ring to enclose to confirm the selection. Applications can also be chosen using the voice recognition by say "Xbox" proceeded by the command. Both work like they should but are 10 times the hassle. I found myself grabbing my controller for the simplest tasks like signing-in or returning to menu. Standing in from my television and holding my hand in place for 5 seconds for each character is too much effort to sign-in. Another issue is the spacing required. This problem should vary the individual since the size of the rooms will vary. To be fair my living room is unusual compared a normal living rooms since there is a king size bed in the right corner bit having to move stuff out the way.
I only got a chance to play the bundled Kinect Adventure game and demos so this section of the review might need some work. There five minigames in Kinect Adentures that showcases some of the capabilities of the device:
Your are inside a glass tank underwater and plug and clog leaky cracks with your limbs and head.
Shift your body left and right and jump to navigate your raft around obstacles to the finish line.
Blocks balls and bounce them off your body to break blocks for points.
Jump, duck, and turn awkwardly from incoming obstacles and collect points to the finish.
Float in space to collect points... I don't really have no clue.
Some game are fun and enjoyable while Space Pop are just plain confusing and annoying to play. The best game in the list IMO is River Rush. Stuggling to move your body to collect adventure pins Finding alternate routes to get to the finish line is a blast. Kinect Adventures is a fun game but the demos are even funner. The demo that kept me coming back was Ubisoft's Fitness Evolved.
The main gripe I have with all Kinect games is the inability to skip past the beginning publisher and developer credits. Takes a good 40 seconds getting to the menu. An infamous issue pointed out by all Sony Fans is the Lag. You see the lag when others are playing but is hardly noticeable when playing yourself.
The console bundle can cost 300 or 400 USD and the Unit can be purchased separately for 150 USD(the option I chose). Even though the parts inside cost $56(see link below)it very expensive for good reason. Microsoft spent 500 million dollars on advertisement alone and the prototype cost them a cool 30k and I'm not even including the two year research fee.
Kinect is a bold and risky investment because of the questionable list of games currently available and expensive pricetag. There a few games worth playing but the introductory price of 150 bucks makes this a pass, especially for the hardcore gamers. It does the job well with a bit of lag. The potential for this technology is endless and hackers are already making open source drivers for PC. I recommend waiting next year for Microsoft to meet net profit so prices can go down and wait for that killer app.