Black Friday is just around the corner and that means it’s time to think about that Christmas budget again. Who do you have to buy for and how much are you going to spend on each person? With the economy in the shape it is currently in, many budgets are smaller this year than in the past.
One hot item this season is the Xbox Kinect. The big question is whether the Xbox Kinect is worth your hard-earned money for that “gamer” on your gift list. Well, let’s get right to answering that question!
If you haven’t heard of the Xbox Kinect, you will soon. Microsoft is spending $500 million on marketing for it. For those that don’t know, it is a motion control add on for the Xbox 360. Much like the Nintendo Wii and Playstation Move, games are played using motion instead of button presses. However, unlike the Wii and Move systems, Kinect doesn’t rely on a controller to sense your movements. It uses camera’s, infrared sensors, and microphones to judge where you are and what you are saying. There is absolutely nothing you need to hold to play, which is pretty cool. No more broken televisions or windows resulting from controllers flying across the room!
Check out this video of Dance Central, one of the best rated games so far, to get an idea of how it actually works.
Does It Work?
I’ve had the chance to use the system, and it actually works much better than I expected. As long as you have enough space to play, it works surprisingly well. The space requirements could be a problem for some people, so make sure you have enough room. The recommended space is 6 to 10 feet from the sensor. For one person to play, 6 feet is plenty of space. If you want to play with 2 players, you have to move back to 8 feet. In both of the houses I’ve played in, 6 feet of space required no adjustments, but to play with 2 players, we had to move a couch.
The great part is that the actual gameplay is intuitive for people who don’t normally play games. You won’t have to teach your girlfriend to hit ‘A’ to do something. If you need to jump in the game, just jump. If you are supposed to hit a ball, just swing your arm. The two games I’ve played so far are Dance Central and Kinect Adventures. Both are easy to understand and easy to play. Everybody that played at our last party had a great time.
The voice controls are pretty cool too. You can say things like “Xbox Play” to control the system. However, I think most people would prefer to just use a remote than to say “Xbox Play.” With that said, it works very well, and it’s a neat technology.
Who Will Enjoy The Kinect?
The technology is really cool, and it is far superior to the Wii for this type of technology and gaming. That being said, there aren’t really any games for it that interest me, the hardcore gamer. I bought it for my wife because she wants to use it for the exercise-type games. She was thinking about getting a Wii to play Wii Fit, but then she saw the Kinect. She decided she liked it better, and we went ahead and took a risk on it. It is perfect for her. She loves it. Personally though, I’m interested in more intense, traditional games like Call of Duty and Halo.
So it is great for exercise-type games, but, like the Wii, it is most likely not the right gift for the hardcore gamer on your Christmas list. Still though, for just about everyone, it is great for party games. We took it over to a friend’s house last weekend and had a bunch of fun hanging out and playing Dance Central. If you have a kid in college, I also think this would be a great gift. I know my friends and I would have had a blast playing it in college. If you enjoy the motion-controlled party game style of the Wii, you will probably love the Kinect even more.
As far as the price. it costs $150 to buy the sensor separately if you already have an Xbox. That includes a copy of Kinect Adventures, which is a great game. If you don’t already have an Xbox, you can buy the Kinect in a bundle with the Xbox for $300. Yes, that is more than the Wii, but if you can fit it in your budget, I think it is probably worth it. Keep in mind, that with this $300, you are not only getting the Kinect, but also one of the best hardcore gaming systems in the Xbox.
In the end, you have to decide what you want out of a gaming system. If you like motion controls, exercise games, or family-style party games, then this is a revolutionary new way to play. If you are more of a hardcore gamer, I’d probably suggest waiting until more games come out for it. We are very happy with it because of the reasons we bought it, but it doesn’t have much in the way of games for me yet. I have high hopes that someone will make a great game that really interests me soon. In the meantime, I can still enjoy all the hardcore games for the Xbox system. In this regard, the Xbox bundle package is really becoming a one-size-fits-all gaming system given how diversified it has become.
Has anybody else bought or tried the Kinect? Let us know in the comments what you think of it.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)