Happy First Anniversary, Kinect

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange.net and its staff]

A year ago I was staying up pretty late to make it to the Kinect midnight launch, it’s something I usually do with games like Halo, Gears Of War and of course Call Of Duty, but this time I was interested more as a journalist to see the kinds of people who were going to actually go to the midnight launch of a motion sensing device that attaches to your Xbox 360.

I actually ran into a lot of different types of people, some were faces I recognized from other launches such as Call Of Duty, so it was definitely interesting to see that group make a strong showing. A lot of people doubted Kinect could be successful with the core group of Xbox 360 gamer’s. I also found people wanting to pick it up as a present for their kids, wives, girlfriends and even one person wanting to buy one for his disabled grandmother to help with rehabilitation. So all the basis were covered and I had some interesting conversations with the people in line, mostly people were interested in Kinect for multiple reasons, which really helps Kinect distinguish itself over the competition in my opinion. I must admit that one of the main things that attracted me to the device was the voice recognition and the ability to control different types of media without a remote control. So how does Kinect fair one year later? Let’s take a look back over the past year at some of the highlights.

Within the first sixty days of being on the market the Kinect sold over eight million units, which set a new Guinness World Record, not a bad two months, considering the initial expectations from Microsoft were somewhere between two and four million. There was of course plenty of negative reactions from the fans of the competition, I heard it all from “The Kinect will be the next 32x” to the ever popular “Kinect will flop hard” and even the inventive “Kinect is stupid”. Once Kinect was an established success people started changing their tune, it went from how the device was going to flop, to how it was “only for kids or mothers”. I also heard how everything on Kinect would be on rails and how it would never appeal to core gamer’s. Well it’s been a year and I think Kinect has done a good job at dispelling all of those comments.

The on rails arguments are the ones that are the most thrown out at pro Kinect enthusiasts, I personally grew up playing many games on rails and think it’s okay for some games to be on a rail system, but the fact that we are seeing games like Rise Of Nightmares, which maybe didn’t set the world on fire, but it was still a huge step in the right direction, it showed people who with a little tinkering you can indeed have a full game experience on Kinect and it doesn’t have to be on rails. As for as games for core gamer’s, I think Microsoft did the logical thing…they started implementing “Better with Kinect” on a variety of games and started offering very core games that have Kinect integration. Also, we’ve seen core titles like The Gunstringer, Fruit Ninja Kinect and Child Of Eden. I think the biggest surprise and the best use of Kinect that I’ve found thus far is with Forza Motorsport 4, the features that work with Kinect are flawless and just plain fun, proving you can have a core title with Kinect implementation and it doesn’t degrade the actual product but instead makes it all the better.

We’ve also seen some amazing software sales with Kinect, Kinect Sports has sold well over 3 million copies and Dance Central is nearing the 3 million mark as well, these are huge numbers no matter how you look at it. We’ve already seen sequels to both of these games as well and it’s not really a surprise, Dance Central 2 is currently the Kinect’s most accessible application, pretty much anyone can enjoy that style of game and it’s just plain old fun to play.

My Top 10 Kinect Games List:
*1.Forza Motorsport 4
*2.The Gunstringer
*3.Child Of Eden
*4.Dance Central 2
*5.Kinect Sports
*6.Kinectimals
*7.Fruit Ninja Kinect
*8.Rise Of Nightmares
*9.Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
*10.Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Kinect Games List:
*1.Project Draco
*2.Ryse
*3.Star Wars Kinect
*4.Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
*5.Kinect Disneyland Adventures

Some of the more interesting aspects that Kinect has done over the last year is what the mod community is pumping out, we are seriously seeing some impressive applications and very useful ideas are coming out and the fact that Microsoft is actually supporting these modifications is a breath of fresh air and will only help with the future of Kinect. The release of the SDK has also infused us with a plethora of Kinect inspired goodies. This is one area where the future of Kinect has no limits, it’s really only what the imagination limits, which means we will continue to see more and more applications bringing us closer to The Minority Report style of technology.

Kinect is also getting a great new dashboard with full functionality and Bing support, this is a huge step in the right direction. You can already use Kinect to video chat to people across the world, use it to control movies with Zune, Netflix and Hulu Plus and now Bing takes it to a whole new level with simple voice commands and hand gestures. I know a ton of people who became interested in Kinect for just these reasons and I cant say I blame them in the least. Microsoft has put a lot of time, money and effort into making kinect the success it is today, that’s not saying that every game is a hit or great, it’s a process and it’s very unrealistic to think every Kinect game is going to be great, just like every Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft game isn’t going to be great, some are hits and some are misses, Kinect is no different.

Celebrating Kinect’s one year anniversary you can find plenty of deals on the device, even some that offer 3 free games with it, some with coupons and vouchers, making it all the easier to get involved with the Kinect goodness. If you buy a Kinect, there are plenty of things to keep you busy, of course it ships with Kinect Adventures, which is a great game in and of itself, you also get Avatar Kinect, which has plenty of free goodies, including different games that let you scan items in your house and have them come to life in a game. There is literally something for everyone when it comes to Kinect, so all the talk you might have heard about lack of core or lack of this or that is simply unwarranted hate and in some cases jealousy.

The future is very bright for Kinect, the integration the device is getting as well as the attention is very welcomed. This has been a very solid year for Kinect and we’ve seen only the start of what the Kinect revolution has to offer, the best part is definitely yet to come. So happy birthday Kinect, and many more to you.

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3 Responses to “Happy First Anniversary, Kinect”

  1. rating forza #1 is that saying that forza is the best game that supports kinect or best use of the kinect. if the second i heard you cant even choose to accelerate or break… just drive. this is unless you buy the remote which gives you mariokart wii essentially minus the ability to shoot things.

    • I like Kinect integration with Forza 4 for more then just the ability to race, it’s Auto Vista, head-tracking, voice command support and actual ability to race, it actually adds a lot to the Forza 4 experience. As far as Kinect only games, I’d say Gunstringer is probably my favorite, though I actually get a kick out of Dance Central and Kinect Sports is a blast as well.

  2. Bought kinect. It sucked. Returned kinect.

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