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back to article Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect

Every Christmas it seems a must-have toy or gadget splits people into the haves and have-nots. Only this year things are slightly different. Little Johnny might be overjoyed to find Santa has left a shiny new Xbox 360 Kinect under the tree, but imagine his heartache when he realises his living room isn't large enough for his …

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Good Review

Mine's arriving today. Can't wait to give it a go.

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Flame

Kratos:the god of war

I like this character in god of war.Kratos become ghost of sparta when he want to revenge with Zeus.And finally he begin war with all god.Hi is a good warrior and support his army to protect them.

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Feedback

One small issue with all of the motion-based controllers is the lack of physical feedback, especially when doing exercises or playing sport games.

The pic of someone apparently playing volley ball is a good example, you just don't get the physical connection between body and playing surface or the ball.

Or kicking a football or tennis or, or, or . . .

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Anonymous Coward

I think that's more a limitation of the medium

if you want to feel interaction with real physical objects, well, go outside and play some volleyall, football, tennis etc

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Because a controller gives all that...

Come on, your telling me that controller in your hand gives you the feedback required from sports games at the moment?

If you want full feedback, go outside and play the sport. If you're accepting the fact that you're playing a videogame, then you accept that you aren't actually playing the sport, and won't get 100% realistic feedback.

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Feedback

Well, the Wii controller has a vibrator which, while exceedingly limited, does provide sufficient feedback to indicate contact with a virtual object (tennis ball, sword, etc). IIRC the playstation "Move" controller also features vibration feedback.

I guess this is a limitation of the XBox "your body is the controller" approach.

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Alert

Why physical?

Why does the feedback need to be "physical" and not "visual" or "audio"? The human brain is good at adapting to situations. A good on-screen visual and audio feedback system can be just as good, if not better, than a small rumbling sensation in your hand. I dont see this as a limitation of Kinect, only another means that Kinect changes the accepted norms of today!

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Coat

Space...

...the Final Frontier!

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Gates Horns

Buttons

Remember the Eyetoy? Circia 2003? Did pretty mych the same stuff, only it cost £40 and didnt have the $500m hype train behind it.

Also - try playing a shooter without buttons, or anything that requires quick reflexes. Severly limited in scope.

Yes, its fun for 30 minutes but for £130 I expect more. And does it come with Phil Spencer and Kirsty Allsopp to find bigger living rooms for people?

90% without taking these things into account? Enjoy your free XBOX and Kinect form MS.....

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SDF ATTACK!!

1) bring up antiquated technology to pretend the new technology isn't an advancement

- why not pretend that the ps2 is better than the 360 too?

2) talk about a gametype that the technology is not geared towards

- why not moan about how a mouse sucks for playing street fighter whilst you're at it?

3) mock price for advanced piece of kit

- can't afford it? don't buy it.

4) mock the known requirements for playing

- If you can't find 2m of space in your home then you're not the target audience anyway. I've got plenty of space for my, my OH and my kids for this.

5) infer that the reviewer is taking money in order to say positive things about an MS product.

- It's not possible, obviously, for MS to make a good product and the entire media must be biased towards them and all the chart trackers must be over-counting ms product success.

Back under yer bridge.

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MJI
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PS2 and Xbox360

Actually there is one area they are equal.

Optical drives

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Stop

Who are SDF?

All I know is that it's common sense. Clearly the device no way lives up to it's promises, and it's a £130 gimmick that will be very short lived indeed.

HD DVD all over again methinks.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

data irregulatiry

"If you can't find 2m of space..."

you need 2.4m of CLEARANCE, that's the size of the square/circle YOU need to stand in. That's a roughly 6' diameter, PER PLAYER. I have a big living room, and I don't have a space that's 11' X 6' inside that room without moving both the couch and coffee table, and that's just for a 2 player game to avoid smacking the other player (as viral videos abound show happens, a LOT). This system has games for up to 2 active players, and 6 total players where move supports 4 active players in less space.

Come to think of it, of my 4600sqft house, there is a single room I have that without having to move more than a centerpiece table could be large enough for this system to be safely used. Its a loft on the 3rd floor. Both the family room and the living room are too small currently as furnished. Technically, one room could do, but I'd need to rotate the layout 90 degrees and buy all new furniture and mount the TV over the fireplace (putting the center of the TV more than 6' off the ground, which is why I did NOT do that).

I've lived in 4 other houses, and 5 other apartments, and between them only one had a room bigger than 12x10 for a living room, and that's only big enough if you have NO furniture. Very few people have 16x15 rooms other than master bedrooms.

Add the disadvantages of not having buttons, as the equally and then so much more capable Move has, pretty much locking you into sports-type games and games that require basic movement reactions only (great, I can make it swing a sword, but i can't make it use a power up when doing so or trigger a combo, or access a menu, or pause the game, or..., limited...)

As for mocking the price, it;s not about the price point, its about that its the same (roughly) price of move, yet SO much more disadvantaged and limited. Its not much better than e-toy, which was $40. Short of a bit better algorithm for motion detection, and better graphics which the console, not the device, provide, it doesn't really bring anything new to the party. Move does. Hes not saying $130 it too expensive, he;s saying compared to the competition, it should be $50 where their offering is worth $130.

His arguments were ENTIRELY reasonable, and repeated by posters and writers and reviewers alike, as well as game devs themselves! Kinect's technology is well done for motion sensing alone, but it needs a hand held device. This will dramatically limit game content, resulting in too-similar products and limited experience, which requiring larger spaces most people don;t have. Move has hundreds of games in development, including being able to BACK PORT move to existing titles. Move also suffers FAR less CPU impact, resulting in less game quality degredation, and being it;s already on a superior CPU/GPU, that sais even more.

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Anonymous Coward

Already there are videos across the Interwebs

demonstrating how Kinect gaming in confined spaces rapidly leads to people being smacked in the face, kicked, knocked over and otherwise pwned outside of the virtual arena. Expect more.

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No doubt

Shortly after the Wii was launched there were a lot of videos of people hurling controllers through TVs, too. Sometimes it's just something people need to get used to.

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Happy

Interesting

Wow. I've followed Natal closely, and was massively buzzed about it. However, as launch day came, I began hearing rumours it was a massive PR stunt, with massive lag, poor recognition, faked videos, etc.

The fact el reg have put themselves behind it is heartening. I might not get it wave 1, but I'll certainly consider wave 2, especially if that Star Wars game is as fun as the youtube clips make out.

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Good to see space mentioned

Space was a major concern of mine, its bad enough that I'm having to rearrange the livingroom to accomodated the wii (Coffee table in the way) so Kinect will be quite tricky!

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First in Staines

Having queued for 25 minutes last night at my local store in Staines, I walked out with a shiney new XBOX360 and the connect.

Apart from the usual lack of launch titles I am very impressed and I hope the next generation of games are as well.

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What if

What happens if someone walks behind you or stands behind you and waves their arms around, is it clever enough to ignore that?

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Also...

What if your arm bursts?

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Joke

Also...

What if you dont have any arms?

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Go

Minority Report?

Surely that's already here; tracking moving lights on a glove is done, as is using that data to move/manipulate windows. Even live 3-axis-rotation of Windows can be done now in Linux.

And rear-projection on a see-through screen (so you can see an image but can also see through the image) has been about for over a hundred years.

Linux w/Compiz + Freewins. Combined with a Wiimote / CCV/ whatever, and a "Pepper's Ghost" style display.

Just going for "waving your hands about and moving (but not rotating) windows"? I- and many others- have had Windows 7 and a Wiimote (or Camera) doing that.

Kinect presents the possibility of going beyond Minority Report- the Kinect protocol's already been reverse engineered by one person, so there'll be a bunch of community-lead projects to do the same thing again out shortly.

Hook Kinect up to Freewins and you'd have Minority Report _without_ the gloves.

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Anonymous Coward

I have to say

That's not much of a review. Apart from pointing out the obvious fact that you need lots of room to allow two people to jump about in a living room with a low ceiling, it reads like it was written by someone not willing or not able to see and point out the limitations of the device.

Once the novelty of waving your limbs about wears off, what are you left with then?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I have to say

What you have left is a games console that will play a stack of good controller-based games. The Wii this isn't.

I think Andrew got to the nub of the matter, and did indeed address Kinect's limitations, such as they are.

This is impressive tech, no matter how you look at it. Only the most blinkered of PS3 fanboys would insist otherwise.

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Down Vote...

...for the fanboy reference. You're an Editor, not a Commentard, leave the hating to them and get back to editing, thank you...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: re: I have to say.

I think the blinkers might be elsewhere if you can't see any limitations to Kinect.

"What you have left is a games console that will play a stack of good controller-based games"

So people should buy Kinect because when they are bored of waving their arms about, they can always go back to using a controler?

The things that gets me about Kinect is that it doesn't do fingers, it lacks the necessary resolution. You can't pick stuff up, let it go, pull a trigger, grab things, turn something around in your hands or even select things with a "click". Look at the videos on youtube and you'll see that selecting something is done by hovering your hand over an icon for a period of time, there is no click.

Clench your fists and think about what games you could play and how easily you could intereact with a virtual enviroment with no buttons to press.

This is refelcted in the current games, River rapids enables you to go left right and jump. Joy ride enables you to go left right, jump and boost. There is also a sonic game where you go left, right, jump. None of those games require Kinect, they can all be done on a controler with three buttons.

If you really don't see any limitiations to Kinect other than "your house might be too small" then I would honestly question the motives behind the review.

Why do I care? I don't know. I think it's something to do with having a dislike for people being encouraged to make a purchase based on the output of a multi million dollar hype machine rather than the actual capabilities of a product.

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FAIL

This is impressive tech, no matter how you look at it.

No it's not. You want to believe it is.

It doesn't deliver what it promised.

It doesn't offer anything new to gamers

It doesn't really offer anything to to casul gamers either

It's overpriced.

It's broken

The games are naff (60%)

If thats what el-reg consider a 90% rating and Editors Choice, then I want the drugs you are on.

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New stuff for sure.

When has anyone in this industry truly delivered what it promised? And most of what it promised is still actually doable with software updates (i.e. the tech, which is being reviewed, is not the limiter).

Nothing new to gamers... remind me just what other 3d cameras, with skeletal tracking ability is out there (ignoring the impressive acoustic abilities entirely!). Of course it's new!

I can see a hell of a lot of benefit to casual gamers, I consider myself one (I only play games casually, and for fun) and now I'm being offered something that looks seriously fun.

Overpriced is, of course, debatable. Whilst I'd have obviously liked it to be cheaper, I'm not balking too much at the price. It's brand new tech, lots of money has been spent on it, I have no problem with M$ making a profit on it (people seem to think they shouldn't...).

How is it broken? Surely that requires it to have been working differently (and better) at some point (which I don't believe it was). Of course, certain limitations (sitting down) were present, but then the *software* was upgraded, and removed the problem.

The current games are 1st generation, been developed in god knows how short a time, with a brand new hardware and input mechanism, and one that itself wasn't finished whilst they were making the games. They still look like a good laugh though.

The tech is impressive, and got the 90% rating. OK, there are limitations, outside of the tech (living space etc) that people may have issues with, but that can be said to be true of almost anything.

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Editors choice

what a joke.

I picked mine up last week (it's been out in the US for a week). Mine has already been returned to Gamestop, it's junk.

It not only needs a huge living room, it needs perfect lighting and loads of other constraints. It's VERY laggy, some games almost unplayable due to the lag. It regularly gets confused at seemingly simple things.

At best it's barely functional, at worst it's downright broken,

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Grenade

So, a textbook Microsoft product launch, then

yes, I went there

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Gates Horns

So...

So, a textb.... damn, beaten to the punch.

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How much did you get paid for this one?

Review seems oddly positive, given other people's complaints of input lag, insufficient space in most people's living rooms, the pretty poor showing of games in comparison to the competition, the badly thought out lack of any standards for menu/gesture control, and some problems with lighting and clutter. Essentially a flawed product which doesn't compare vary well to either the move, or to the wii, in various respects.

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Stop

There is a half a billion

budget to keep the media sweet.

I'm guessing El-Reg want some of that money pot...

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Kinnect has been downgraded from its original design

So you are paying top dollar for a crippled device.

http://kotaku.com/5609840/kinect-dumbed-down-to-save-money-cant-read-sign-language

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=259087

I suspect they will re-introduce the planned changes later at an additional cost. Same scam they did with Hard Discs.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Kinnect has been downgraded from its original design

IMHO, that's a particular esoteric feature that was cut out to save costs.

I hate to stand up for M$ here, but if it does indeed release 'Kinect 2' in short order with extra features for extra money, it will be just the latest in a *very* long line on vendors to do this.

New product in 'better version coming down the line' shock....

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Law
Unhappy

Everybody does this...

... in games software terms it's called DLC! :) They release a game with features stripped, either deliberate or by choice, then sell you the rest... it's cheeky, and annoying.

It's annoying they are doing it more with hardware now too.

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tight squeeze

IIRC, according to the BBC the average TV viewing distance in the UK is 2.7m, so that would definitely seem marginal for many people.

What if you put a mirror on the wall, and pointed it the other way? Well, two mirrors, I suppose, to get things the right way round. A sort of kinectperiscope?

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Good plan, Baldric

I look forward to you updating us with your results.

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MJI
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Modern houses too small

Wouldn't fit in ours 5 to 6 foot from sofa to TV.

However both Wiiis and Moves are working in that space

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Downgraded and calibration

Considering the prototype (I understand prototypes are costly regardless) cost $30,000, I don't mind paying a bit less for lower quality/off the shelf internals.

Next up, one of the most positive reviews I've read about the kinect (especially in terms of lag, playing conditions, and general screw ups) had the tester calibrate the camera many times, in various lighting (night, day, lights on, lights off) etc etc, and found that this constantly improved his experience, and removed the issues that a lot of reviewers are claiming that kinect has with lighting conditions.

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Gamers are debugging this

It may be launched on the Xbox but MS have bigger plans for this, it's going to turn into their primary domestic computing interface.

In a few years time you'll be conversing with a QVC avatar via this to do your shopping (shudder). After that Milo'll be installed in your care home to provide you with somebody to witter on to all day and give the illusion of not being old and lonely.

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Joke

No its not!

"it's going to turn into their primary domestic computing interface."

No its not! I'm not holding my arm up in the air for two and half seconds just to click on the sodding start menu (or windows menu as I think they renamed it now after years of clicking start to turn off PCs) !!!

As for Milo, I think you need a enhanced CRB check before you're allowed to play that one!

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Anonymous Coward

Where is the 3d detection?

With all the talk of the ability to detect 3d why do I need to hover over a button for a couple of seconds in order to select it? If it really could do 3D detection properly and reliably then shouldn't you be able to just push forward when you put your hand over a button to select it? As it is it's annoyingly slow to interact with the Xbox using kinect.

I've tried it in a store and was not impressed, except for the improved graphics it seems little better than they eye toy games of old.

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Different interface options.

From what I've read, EA sports has exactly that, you move over, then "press" your selection. Since all the reviewers seem to enjoy it more, it'l probably become a staple method.

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FAIL

Err..

"What you have left is a games console that will play a stack of good controller-based games."

And a wallet that's lighter by £130 quid....

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Failed concept

Alot of people are seeing Kinect for what it is. Microsoft paid ALOT of money for the tech, but deep down they know it fails to deliver on the promises. However they also know they can still sell it to those desperate to live the "minority report dream".

Many, including Ars Technica believe Microsoft will be releasing a Move style controller once the Kinect fad has worn off.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/reviews/2010/11/buy-a-house-clean-your-floor-move-your-butt-ars-reviews-kinect.ars/6

"We're going to come out and say it: Microsoft is going to release a Move-style controller for the Kinect within a year or so. Both gamers and developers are going to be frustrated by all the things the hardware can't do"

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Failed concept

Now THAT, is what I call a review. Thanks for the link.

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I concur

Read the Ars review, this one makes me wonder if the reviewer was on something.

- Games have poor reviews apart from the dance one so how does the tech get a thumbs up? Potential!

- The reviewer mentions his calves were jammed against his settee to get far enough away, but thats somehow not relevant

- Teething problems with the shit controls are ignored as teething problems, so many years to get over these before launch but its just a matter of a simple update coming soon I'm sure

- No mention of the lack of controls where a button press is needed such as how do you brake? OK so the 'purity' of the controllerless concept would be muddied, but it would work.

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Megaphone

Minority Refute

No. I didn't have to recalibrate Kinect after the inital set-up. I played Kinect for approximately thirty hours in total, during the day with sunlight streaming behind Kinect through my bay window, at dusk, in very dim conditions without artificial light, and at night-time with nothing but artificial light.

Kinect never once failed to recognise the players, and never once stuttered as a consequence of poor lighting conditions. The reviewer did not, however, keep changing his clothes or the colour of his sofa, so he concedes to the possibility that more thorough testing might have highlighted minor issues.

What I won't concede to, however, is that the technology isn't impressive, even allowing for minor flaws that he personally didn't experience.

I am no fanbois, and I'm certainly not in the paid employ of Microsoft. I'm just a dedicated gamer and technology enthusiast.

If Clive Sinclair had made Kinect, I would still be singing its praises. It's not perfect, and the initial launch titles do little to dispel doubts over motion-controlled gaming in general, but it is the best mass-market motion-controlled gaming device available. And it is fun, even for a die-hard hardcore gamer like myself.

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