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Kinect

Playstation Move vs Microsoft Kinect: The Future of Motion Control

Remember when the Wii launched back in 2006? And days after it came out, we read a million reports of smashed TVs, smashed faces and smashed egos? Since Kinect launched, we've recieved one report of a broken TV, but we suspect the injuries and broken furniture from Microsoft's motion sensing camera device are just begining.

We've played a lot of Kinect here at G4, and feel confident that we will see the following injuries when the Microsoft Kinect gains a wider base of users.

"I Can Do This For Real!"

When I was playing Sonic Free Riders, in which you often have to jump, stretch, lean, kick, and punch, I noticed that if my onscreen avatar was doing it, I thought I could do it. You know, like hurtling down a steep ramp at breakneck speed before leaping across a chasm made out of hot lava. This game is sort of like training, right? I could totally pick up a board and shred some powder at Vail without falling on my ass, because I never made Sonic fall down once. Well, here's a tip: Sonic never falls down. He might catch on fire or have his vision obscured by octopus ink, but he'll never wipeout. Therefore, I must have superhuman powers of agility. So, I predict a rash of "I CAN DO THIS IN REAL LIFE!"-itis. Just wait until some poor kid tries to play with a Bengal tiger, or make their car do multiple flips while they're hanging out the window with one hand on the steering wheel.

--Kevin Kelly

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Microsoft Kinect, Xbox Kinect, Kinect Xbox, it doesn't matter what you call it, Kinect is here, and with the launch just behind us, Abbie Heppe and Dana Vinson review the controller free device to tell us if Microsoft's new motion sensor is worth buying, which games are worth moving for, and whether or not this new technology works as intended.

In short, it's a Kinect fiesta on this Talkabout, and you're all invited. You don't even need to bring a controller, just your lovely selves...and some dip. We're short on dip.

Talkabouts: Xbox Kinect »


First Kinect Broken TV Reported

You knew these reports were going to start coming in -- The first TV has been destroyed by Kinect.  Movie critic Phil Villarreal wrecked his expensive TV playing Kinect last night. Sadly, he didn't put his fist through the LCD screen. Instead, Villarreal was playing Kinect Sports last night and... well, I'll let him explain it:

"A public service announcement: Do not under any circumstances play Kinect Sports Volleyball at 1:30 a.m. while standing under a ceiling fan with a dangling chain for a light switch. You could conceivably spike it into your year-old amazing TV, causing it to die with a rainbow LCD teardrop dripping down from the impact wound. Plus you'll lose the match by forfeit"

Ouch. Stay tuned to our blog for the next wave of reports about Kinect-horrors: Pulled muscles, punched faces, strains, sprains and broken bones, coming soon to a sedentary gamer near you.

(via Kotaku)

Microsoft Kinect Priced, New Bundle And 360 SKU Announced

According to some internet reports, including an article on GameSpot, the Microsoft Kinect is having problems recognizing some people with darker skin tones. Gamespot tested the Kinect with three "dark-skinned" employees. Two of them had problems with the system's facial recognition, one of them did not. Gamestop tried a bunch of different calibrations, and were not able to get Kinect to recognize the pair. Leading to the obvious conclusion that Kinect is totally racist!  (Kidding.)

Microsoft comment, saying, "Kinect works with people of all skin tones. And just like a camera, optimal lighting is best. Anyone experiencing issues with facial recognition should adjust their lighting settings, as instructed in the Kinect Tuner."

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Whether you have an Xbox 360 Elite, an Xbox Arcade, the new Xbox Slim, or even an old Xbox Core, Kinect works with all of them. That makes today is a pretty significant day in the world of gaming, as Microsoft drops their motion-controlled bomb, which makes YOU the controller, and brings us ever closer to the eventual technological takeover of the universe. Sure, today we're giving commands to our Xbox, but one of these days, we might be the ones being controlled. Think on that for a minute...
 
Kinect Enabled Games That Should Have Been
 
In the meantime, Kinect is fun times, and its presence in the world of gaming only makes things better, and gives developers more options. But while your Kinect might work with every Xbox, you know what won't? Your games. Let's take a look at some games that would have been greatly helped by being Kinect-supported, shall we?
 

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EA Sports Active 2.0 Arrives for Wii, PS3 & Kinect

The Microsoft Kinect launched today, and our site shows it, with a ton of Kinect game reviews, opinions and news. The reaction of the Kinect's launch from gamers seems decidedly mixed. While G4's editorial staff is embracing the new device, a lot of you guys aren't psyched at all. Of course, there are quite a few lovers to balance out the haters, but today's Reacharound goes to turboswag who intelligently explains why he won't be playing a Kinect just yet, even though he wants one:

"I own all three systems, and I personally like the PS3 best, HOWEVER, I will give Microsoft props for making me want the Kinect. Personally, I'm not too into motion controls. I easily passed up the Move and my Wii is kind-of collecting dust as well. I don't think I will get the Kinect quite yet. It's more of a waiting game until something good comes out. Either way, I think I'll stick to my controller. Thanks anyway."

What do you guys think? Are you taking a wait-and-see approach as well?

Kinect Adventures

Like it or not, the launch of Microsoft Kinect is a big deal. Make fun of it all you want, hem and haw to your heart’s content, label anyone who finds it even remotely enjoyable a unrepentant Microsoft lover, even if you yourself haven’t tried it or are even willing to give it a chance. It’s all good.

Because, love it or hate it, Kinect changes the game. Period. Whether that will end up being good or bad for gaming remains to be seen, but at this point, it’s a big deal. As such, I want to hear from people who have picked up a Kinect and had some time to play around with it.

How are you finding the experience so far? What games did you buy, if any? What’s your living room situation? Any issues you’ve come across?

If you want to find out what we think about Kinect and a bunch of its launch titles, check out our Kinect roundup.

Video Kinect's Body Tracking & Video Shared Viewing

Microsoft Kinect makes you feel like you're living in the future. The new 3D motion-tracking camera from Microsoft allows you to play games without anything in your hands. This means no more searching for wands and batteries or hooking up complicated peripherals to your console. You just need you. You really are the controller with Kinect and it's magnificent.

When it was first introduced (way back when it was called "Project Natal"), everyone here at the office was a little hesitant. The question on everyone's mind was, "This looks cool, but will it really work?" As time wore on, and we had a few chances to get hands on with Kinect, it became "Ok, that was fun and it worked in a controlled setting, but will it work at home?" Now that we've had a lot of time with Kinect in the wild, we can say for sure. Yes, it does work and yes, it's as impressive as we thought it was going to be.

Maybe it's a sad criticism of the gaming hardware industry to say that the best part of something is that it actually works. I'm not sure, but all I know is that a few minutes with Kinect turned even non-believers into slack-jawed little kids, filled with excitement because of the fun that Kinect provides.

We've taken a look at a bunch of the launch titles for Kinect. Read our reviews and decide for yourself if Kinect is really the game changer we think it is.

Now, hit the Read More for some tips and observations about Kinect.

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Kinect Adventures

Kinect Adventures is the one title that you'll get with your Kinect sensor bar when you purchase it, but does that mean you should toss it aside and slap in something else? Heck no. If you're looking for sensationalistic adventure, you need to look no further than about six to eight feet in front of you:

"It was brilliant for Microsoft to not only pair Kinect with a non-sports title, but to include one that was so wonderfully done. The care and consideration that went into Kinect Adventures is really kind of heartwarming and it doesn't hurt that the gameplay is addictively fun, either. "

Check out the rest of Dana Vinson's Kinect Adventures review right here, and set sail for escapades and hijinx!


Kinect Joy Ride

Kinect Joy Ride is a cart racing game where players control their cars and bedevil their adversaries without using a controller. G4's own Nikole Zivalich revved her engines and ran the game through a grueling course for her review. The verdict:

"Joy Ride shows off just how accurate Kinect is, but hasn't done enough to make it worth the price. The game seems like more than a glorified free demo or XBLA game, which it was originally meant for. Microsoft has mentioned plans for DLC and the potential this game has but it might be best to wait until that DLC becomes a reality."

Check out the rest of our Kinect Joy Ride review right here.


Sonic Free Riders Review -- Fun To Lunge, Lunge For Fun!

The first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear “Sonic Kinect game” is probably visions of yourself having to run in place at hyper speeds to recreate the iconic speedsters penchant for blistering velocity. Fortunately, this isn’t the case, however, Sonic Free Riders, Sega’s snowboarding launch title for Kinect, will definitely have you huffing and puffing just as much, and perhaps even bloooowwinng your back out. Don’t believe me? Check out what Kevin Kelly said in his review:

“Kinect wants you to know that ‘You are the controller,’ and nothing hammers that point home more than an extended period of time playing this title. Unless you’re Michael Phelps, you’ll be sweating by the time you finish your first full race, and just the tutorials alone will have you breathing hard. Not that America couldn’t benefit from a little more workout, but dang.”

There's plenty more where that came from in our Sonic Free Riders review.

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Kinectimals

I know, I know. Ever since Microsoft's supremely bizarre Kinect reveal event at this year's E3, you've been wanting to know more about Skittles in Kinectimals. We all make fun of it, but then little girl was just so gosh darned adorable. Is the game adorable? Yes. It even managed to melt the titanium-like heart of our own Stephen Johnson.

"Interacting with your pet is undeniably, unspeakably adorable. The animals really respond to your voice and actions, sitting down when you tell them to, reacting to their name, fetching toys when they want to play, purring when you scratch them behind the ears, and interacting with their owners in truly lifelike ways. It’s almost eerie how flawless and complete the game’s pet interactions are. The little guys are so lifelike; it’s like having a small animal trapped inside your LCD.  My Kinectimal, a baby panther I named “Satan Rising,” quickly warmed my heart with purrs, jumps and obedience, but sadly, I could not impart upon him a taste for human flesh."

Need more? Yes you do. Before you invite the all-seeing eye of Kinect into your home, you need to read the rest of Steve's Kinectimals review.


Gamescom 2010: 11 New Dance Central Tracks Revealed

Harmonix reinvigorated the music game genre with its recently threequeled Rock Band series, and the developer has done its best to do for dance games what it did for music games with its launch title Dance Central. Our own Dana Vinson put the motion controlled gyration simulator through its paces, and came away impressed, confident, and a little sore:

"Sure, you could flip on the stereo and do the Elaine in your underwear in private, but it's hard to shake the sense that you constantly look silly, if only to yourself.

Adults, I have good news: Dance Central is here to save you from yourselves."

Read our full Dance Central review for more.




Kinect Sports

Nintendo's Wii hooked practically the entire world a few years ago with the release of Wii Sports, but can Microsoft repeat that kind of magic with Kinect Sports? G4's resident jock Jake "drop and give me 20!" Gaskill tried the game out and was very, very impressed.

"Microsoft’s Kinect Sports succeeds in one way that both Wii Sports and Sports Champions fail: no controller means no more constantly worrying that you’re going to fling a remote into your television or across the living room. And this lack of anxiety means you can more freely engage yourself in the highly physical sports available to you. This also means you’re going to need to stretch more than just your arm before you play this game. It’s a fully body workout for sure. I was limping around for days after two, admittedly long, sessions. I know now why Microsoft included the little 'Feeling tired? Take a break.' alert bubble that pops up after you’ve playing for an extended period of time."

Check out the rest of our Kinect Sports review right here.

250GB Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle Announced

Today's Reacharound concerns the soon-to-be-released Microsoft Kinect. Specifically, reports that Microsoft is predicting sales of five million Kinect units this holiday. My gut says that's a reasonable number, but user Vesuvian Ast3r1x had a personal experience that he thinks indicates that Microsoft is set to own this holiday season:

In my personal experience it will be a hit. ONE major reason is this: My mother who is not the most technologically savvy person in the world came to me one day last week and asked ME what I thought about the Kinect. Now this a person who doesn't always know what combination of buttons brings up the cable guide, so yeah.

Love or hate Kinect, Vesuvian Ast3r1x makes a compelling point. I, too, have had more than one conversation with  non-tech-oriented friends and relatives that started, "So, tell me about this Kinect thing..."  How about you guys?

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