When I first saw the Xbox Kinect, I was a GA (Game Advisor or peon) at GameStop,. I felt a sense of wonder and I thought, "This must be the future". This morning, when I saw the finally released Eedoo CT510, I felt the same sense of wonderment that I had when I first saw the Kinect—except it was soon followed by disappointment.
At first glance, the CT510 looks exactly like the Xbox Kinect. Both look like black horizontal bars with embedded cameras, and both sit atop white boxes. Unlike the Xbox 360 and Kinect, the CT510 is not marketed or labeled as a game player, but instead as an exercise entertainment machine. Also unlike the Xbox 360 is the fact that the CT510 does not come or have any form of traditional game controllers, instead it only comes with the main system that plays DVDs, the camera unit, and a regular TV style remote control.
The main unit of the CT510 looks nothing like a game system, and at first glance, it looked exactly like a DVD player. Inside of the main body is supposedly the processor chips, a DVD player, and a 250 GB user exchangeable hard drive.
Despite all printed materials showing a black system, the only available systems are white; the camera unit only comes in black.
The flagship store salesperson, named Jin, helped me start up the system. Once booted, the Eedoo UI felt strangely familiar, and that's because it felt like the old Xbox 360 UI with the "bladed" pages. Each "blade" had a different function: one was for games, another was for internet, there was even one just for Weibo, China's Twitter.
Operating the CT510 felt like operating the Kinect. During my 45 minute play test that was interrupted a few times by shopping housewives and interested shoppers, I didn't experience any drops in connectivity between myself and the system. It registered most if not all of my movements. The only hiccup I had was during game changes. Every time I backed out of a game, I would have to wave my arms left and right in exaggerated motions for the system to recognize me.
In terms of operation, I have to say that the CT510 is exactly like the Kinect. If the Lenovo group weren't the people behind the money for the product, I can almost see Kinect camera guts inside the CT510. Holding out your hand on an icon and waiting a few seconds will record commands, changing screens requires swiping of your arm from left to right or right to left. All of these motions are very Kinect-esque.
During my time with the system, I got to try out 3 of the 8 game pre-loaded games. I played the comic book style side scrolling fighter game, a dance revolution-esque dancing game, and a sports game that reminded me of Wii Sports.
The fighter game literally takes the player and imposes them into the game. A simple wave of the arm and I would see myself performing aerial attacks. My only problem with this game was that it was a side-scroller. It felt awkward moving side to side while watching the screen, on top of that the CT510 registered all of my kicks but it couldn't register my walking motion, I had to punch my way across the screen instead of just walk in place.
The dancing game was oddly accurate, the one mode I played was a Hole in the Wall style game with rupees.
The last game I played was a Wii Sports style sports game. This one game actually had avatars. For the most part the game felt very much like a Wii game more than it did a Kinect game.
These games, developed by Eedoo and third party game developers look polished, but they really aren't. I normally don't complain about graphics on games but for a system that costs US$600, I believe there needs to be higher production values.
Apart from the games that I played, there was one for kung fu and even a Wii Fit style yoga game called Maya Fit. On top of its gaming capabilities, salesperson Jin kept pitching to me the CT510's ability to go online. According to Jin, the CT510 will have an online app store, and that any "first party" developed games will be either free or cheap. He also cited a partnership with Youpeng online video services that will offer video streaming directly to the device.
In my 50 minutes of play time with the unit, I can say that it was much better than I had anticipated. The motion tracking was for the most part worked, I was expecting much worse. At the same time the system felt too much like a me too system. It looks and feels way too much like the Xbox 360 and Kinect. There wasn't really much innovation, and so far, I don't believe it lives up to its 3799RMB ($600) price tag.
We'll have an in depth review of the CT510 as soon as our review unit arrives.