Is Kinect a sure thing underneath every Christmas tree this year



It has to be said that Kinect is a pretty nifty invention in the world of interactive gaming. Like something out of the Matrix, it uses skeletal tracking, face detection and voice recognition to turn your entire body into the controller. And in a time when technology is just galloping miles ahead by the day, some of us are still getting the hang of a touch-screen, never mind being able to comprehend these futuristic gaming quirks!

It’s clear that Microsoft have taken a big step into Wii territory with Kinect, gunning for a share of the 75.9 million homes around the world that have Wii. But is Kinect just an advancement of the Wii concept or an entirely new gaming experience? What are its flaws? What are its graces? And at nearly twice the price of Wii for new users, is it really for everyone?

In 2006, Wii launched to became the market leading games console within less than a year after the launch date. Microsoft and Sony were fast asleep while Nintendo abruptly revolutionised the gaming market with the first ever interactive gaming experience.

Part of the success of the Wii was that it took gaming away from the stereotypical emo kid sitting in a dark bedroom and brought it to literally everyone on the planet, for an easy £179! So at just short of £300 to buy the Xbox with Kinect add-on for new users, have Microsoft done enough to see households keenly swap out their Wii for the controller-free experience?

Worldwide sales figures as of September showed Microsoft have sold 44.6 million Xbox consoles, meaning there are nearly as many Xbox’s out there as there are people in England! But do the hardcore gamers out there believe in the conversion to activity-focused games like Dance Central? Or are we all waiting for the hardcore games to be advanced by the Kinect?

Leading online media and services company, IGN Entertainment, is positive the Kinect has vast appeal due to it’s futuristic capabilities like voice navigation which will appeal to both the traditional and casual gamer. However, expert tech review site, CNET UK that although being massively entertaining, the accuracy of Kinect is not yet up to scratch to what hardcore gamers would want.

For right now, I can’t see the Kinect hitting the mark with the hardcore gamers just yet. Those who love COD and Modern Warfare etc, may love the idea of voice recognition, but I think they also love the idea of the controller, the access to limitless weaponary and strategic changes. However, the Kinect is built for fun and physical satisfaction – the game Fighters Uncaged will definitely appeal to all the guys out there who love boxing games but want to feel more involved in the action. The Kinect takes what the Wii brought to us all and transformed it again. We are the contoller. That’s a cool thought and possibly the best thing about Kinect in my view is how humbling this type of gameplay is. And once everyone has abandoned their dignity and ego at the door, that’s when the fun really begins!

With such intelligent technology in the midst, it remains to be seen if the world’s first controller-free gaming and entertainment experience will be affected by the players’ moods or energy levels. What games are on their way to place Kinect in a new league of interactive gaming and make sure it doesn’t fizzle out in Wii’s wake? With the joy of Christmas just 6 weeks away and Playstation Move hot on the Kinect and Wii trail, I’m sure we won’t have to wait long to find out!

If you haven’t made up your mind yet about Kinect, PC World and Currys are allowing customers to trial the Kinect in most of their stores. If you already love it and want it, we’ve a very competitive bundle with Xbox console, Kinect and 3 wicked games to get you started!