Kinect needs a lot of room, more room than any video game control device before it. But where there's a will to move furniture or rotate TVs, there is a way. This is how we made room in two homes.
From Stephen Totilo, deputy editor, based in Brooklyn: Space is tight in my Brooklyn condo. The living room is long and narrow, with the TV and game consoles just far enough from my couch to allow me to play a game, seated, using a controller wired to a game console under my TV.
I was able to play some Kinect games, like the single-player in racing game Kinect Joy Ride or everything in the fun Kinectimals, standing in front of my couch. That set-up, which required no moving of furniture had me standing under seven feet from the Kinect. At this range, though, I was barely at an acceptable distance for Kinect Sports, which spat back a sort of shrugged-shoulders message saying I might enjoy the game more if I was further away. Sorry, Kinect Sports, not if I have to stand on my couch!
That range didn't leave me enough room to play two-person, same-room games on Kinect nor to try more heart-racing experiences like the workout game Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. For that, initially with reluctance, I had to swivel my TV and move my Kinect. I needed at least eight feet to be in Your Shape's sweet spot.
Thankfully the Kinect sensor is smart and recalibrates automatically once it is moved. I don't love the idea of having to turn my TV for multiplayer — it's certainly more hassle than is needed if I have three friends over to play four-player Wii Sports (like that ever happens anymore -sniff-), but it's not the end of the world. I just want to warn people living in non-palace housing that you probably will need to make adjustments.
From Brian Crecente, editor-in-chief, based in Denver: I've got wide open spaces here in Colorado. The room where I have my video game consoles set up was designed for this space and it's pretty big. The couch is about 9-feet from the edge of the built-in entertainment center where my television sits. But there is also a huge coffee table in front of the couch.
I was able to use the non-gaming features of Kinect without having to move the couch, though I ended up needing to sit up in the couch to get the camera to recognize me. Playing between the coffee table and the couch was problematic for most games, not because of the distance, but because there wasn't a lot of room to move back there and the camera couldn't see below my calves.
I thought that once I moved the coffee table out of the way I'd have plenty of space, but it turns out that the front of my couch is only about 8 1/2 feet from the television. That may sound like a lot of space, it certainly looks like a lot of space, but Kinect wasn't always thrilled with what it had to work with. For instance, Kinect Sports grid put me in the front third of the play space when I stood eight feet from the TV.
Fortunately, I was able to make that big square of empty space work for all of the games, including Dance Central, which really does need a lot of room to move around in. Unfortunately, I rarely if ever move that coffee table, so the future of Kinect gaming in the Crecente household looks bleak.