The Ultimate Guide To Xbox 360 Kinect

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This is your guide to everything you need to know about Xbox 360 Kinect: how it works, what it costs, and what games you can play on it.

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What Is Kinect?

Microsoft calls Kinect a hands-free motion control device for the Xbox 360. It allows players to control games using a combination of body movement and spoken commands without having to hold a controller in their hands. As Microsoft is fond of saying, with Kinect you are the controller.

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How Does The Kinect Work?

The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar connected to a motorized base that sits somewhere above or below the player's television set. Built into the bar is an RGB camera, a multi-array microphone, and a depth sensor. These three elements combined allow the Kinect to perform 3D motion capture and facial and voice recognition. Basically, if the player moves, the Kinect can track it, and convert those motions into data used to control Kinect-ready games and features.

The depth sensor consists of an infrared projector and a sensor. The projector projects a continuous infrared pattern over its field of vision, which the sensor uses to interpret the scene.

Facial, voice, and motion recognition is handled by Microsoft's Kinect software.

Check out Kotaku's full Kinect review for our opinion on how well the device performs.

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When Does Kinect Launch?

Kinect launched on November 4, 2010 in North America. It will launch in Europe on November 10, Australia on November 18, and finally in Japan on November 20.

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How Much Does Kinect Cost?

The cost of Kinect depends on what equipment you already possess. We'll be using North American pricing for this guide. International pricing may vary.

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If you do not own an Xbox 360, then you'll want to pick up a Kinect console bundle. There are two version available: The 4GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle, which retails for $299.99; and the 250gb Xbox 360 Kinect bundle, which runs $399.99. Both bundles come with the Kinect sensor and a copy of the Kinect Adventures game.

If you already own an Xbox 360, then all you need to purchase is the Kinect sensor itself. It retails for $149.99, and comes packaged with Kinect Adventures.

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It bears noting that the motorized stand for the Kinect requires additional power that original model Xbox 360 consoles cannot provide, so players will need an additional power outlet hand. The newer model Xbox 360 slim consoles have a built-in port specifically to power the Kinect sensor, and therefor require no additional outlets.

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How Much Space Does Kinect Require?

Kinect needs to have the player's entire body in view at all times in order to work properly, so you'll need to have a fair amount of unobstructed space between you and the sensor. Microsoft recommends six feet of space between the player and the Kinect sensor for single-player games, and at least eight feet for two-player games. Player size is also a concern, as Kotaku's Michael Fahey, standing at six feet, six inches tall, had to stand further back than other players during trade show demonstrations.

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Read all about Kotaku's experience configuring a room for Kinect.

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What Games Are Launching With Kinect?

Microsoft and third-party developers have come together to create a strong lineup of launch titles for Kinect, with seventeen titles available withing the device's launch window.

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Dance Central

Publisher: MTV Games

Genre: Dancing

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

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From Harmonix, the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Dance Central is a game that uses the Kinect to track your movements as you attempt to dance along to some of the hottest dance hits around, with music from Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and more.

Read Kotaku's Review of Dance Central.

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Adrenalin Misfits

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Racing

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

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Colorful characters race snowboards across seven unique fantasy worlds in Konami's Adrenalin Misfits. Collect power-ups, race against bosses, and use your body to control the board.

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The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout

Publisher: THQ

Genre: Fitness

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

Based on the hit reality game show, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout sees players performing various exercises and activities in order to burn calories, just like the people on television do, only without the drama.

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Dance Masters

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Dancing

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

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Another dancing game, this time from Konami, publisher of the Dance Dance Revolution series of games. Dance along to various Hip Hop, R&B, and Techno tracks.

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Deca Sports Freedom

Publisher: Hudson

Genre: Dancing

Release Date: November 16

Price: $39.99

Hudson brings its Deca Sports franchise to Kinect, with 10 different sports for players to compete in: snowboard cross, beach volleyball, figure skating, mogul skiing, dodge ball, paintball, archery, boxing, tennis, and kendo.

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EA Sports Active 2

Publisher: EA

Genre: Fitness

Release Date: November 16

Price: $99.99

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EA Sports brings its fitness franchise to the Kinect with EA Sports Active 2, a full-featured exercise game complete with more than 70 exercises and activities, online workout tracking, and a heart rate monitor bundled with the game.

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Fighters Uncaged

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: fighting

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

Ubisoft explores the world of illegal fighting tournaments in Fighters Uncaged, allowing Kinect users to turn their body into a deadly weapon with more than 50 brutal fighting moves.

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Game Party: In Motion

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Genre: Party

Release Date: November 4

Price: $39.99

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Game Party: In Motion is a collection of 16 different mini-games for the whole family to play, from pool to skee-bowling.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: The Videogame

Publisher: EA

Genre: Action Adventure

Release Date: November 16

Price: $49.99

It's the video game of the first installment of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie, giving players total motion control over Harry's wand as he does whatever he does in the movie.

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Kinect Joy Ride

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: Racing

Release Date: November 4

Price: $49.99

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Joy Ride is the first controller-free car racing game, allowing players to race through wild tracks with only the motion of their body between them and the road.

Read Kotaku's Review of Kinect Joy Ride.

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Kinect Adventures

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: Party

Release Date: November 4

Price: Free

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Bundled with every Kinect sensor, Kinect Adventure's five mini-games are perfect for giving your new Kinect a workout.

Read Kotaku's Review of Kinect Adventures.

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Kinectimals

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: Pet Sim

Release Date: November 4

Price: S49.99, $59.99 Limited Edition

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Befriend adorable jungle cats in one of the most kid-friendly Kinect games available at launch. Pet, groom, and play games with your adorable pet. It's the cutest thing ever.

Read Kotaku's Review of Kinectimals.

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Kinect Sports

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: Sports

Release Date: November 4

Price: S49.99

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It's Microsoft's answer to Wii Sports, with multiple ways to play soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, track and field, and boxing alone or with friends.

Read Kotaku's Review of Kinect Sports.

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MotionSports

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Sports

Release Date: November 4

Price: S49.99

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Ubisoft's MotionSports is a more realistic take on sports mini-games, featuring some eye-catching graphics and a wide variety of events to participate in.

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Sonic Free Riders

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Racing

Release Date: November 4

Price: S49.99

Sega takes its Sonic the Hedgehog hoverboard racing hands-free in Sonic Free Riders. Race against Sonic's friends and enemies across several colorful themed tracks.

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Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Fitness

Release Date: November 4

Price: S49.99

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Your Shape: Fitness Evolved uses proprietary technology to track 1 million dots on the player's body, making it one of the most technically capable fitness games available. With workouts created by some of the biggest names in the fitness industry and the promise of downloadable workouts, it might be the only fitness game you'll ever need for Kinect.

Read Kotaku's Review of Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

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Zumba Fitness: Join the Party

Publisher: Zumba Fitness

Genre: Fitness

Release Date: November 18

Price: S39.99

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Hot international dance steps and sexy Latin music make Zumba Fitness a different sort of fitness game entirely. Almost a combination of a dance game and a fitness title, with more that 30 routines and support for up to four players.

Should I Buy Kinect?

Will you love the Kinect or hate it? That all depends on you, but you can check out Stephen Totilo's 9-day Kinect diary to help you decide.

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DISCUSSION

lilgamerman
lilgamerman

I got one last night at launch and I am incredibly disappointed in it. I really, really hope there is continued support for the Kinect in the coming days but its looking less and less likely

1) Even in good lighting it often spazzes out. When I played from 12:30-1ish I had perfectly even lighting and it still bugged out on occasion plus it just didnt seem that accurate and the latency adds a lot to that feeling

2) I got up this morning and it won't work at all. The east-facing window had too much light coming in (even with all the shades drawn) and it won't even pick up my hand for gesture controls. I went to tune it and it gets and loses only about 1-2 skeleton points out of 10— way too few to actually play anything and it cant keep track of my hand.

3) NO NETFLIX— After realizing that Adventures was about 10 minutes worth of pseudo-fun I resigned myself to it being a new remote control system. I tried voice commands on last.fm and Zune and it was AWESOME. I really loved it. Then I looked for Netflix....nope. No support at all for it. Who rents movies from Zune when you have Netflix? This is actually my number 1 complaint about the system. I know it could be patched easily but knowing M$ and Netflix. It took about a year to get a search function in Netflix.

4) No real power commands. When you go to the kinect dashboard you get very little power. Video chat, last.fm, zune, your game disc, and a bunch of ads...thats all you get. I mean you can also awkwardly go through friends and achievements but there isnt much power there. 5 options and 3-4 ads is not choice. You can't turn your xbox on or off with it, you cant do Netflix with it, you can't navigate through XBLA, you can't do much of anything. Its very disapointing.

Right now I'm just debating— do I let it rot on my shelf. waiting for M$ to update their software to at least add Netflix support or do I try to sell it on ebay to get my money back on this?