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Microsoft Goodness

Thursday, November 4th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Kinect

Microsoft Kinect finally was released at midnight last night and I’m so glad that I can finally talk about. I was in the beta program, but because of the Nondisclosure Agreement, I’ve been pretty quiet about it except for a few mentions on Twitter. I didn’t want to risk having it taken away from me. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. My dog looks at me like I’m crazy when I’m using it, but that’s okay.

Setup was easy. I started out positioning it below the television but moved it to on top so that it could see me better. That brings to mind the biggest problem so far: space. You need to have plenty of space in your play area. They say at least 6 feet between you and the sensor, but the more the better. We were able to download beta/demo versions of 3 games: Kinect Sports, Joyride, and Kinect Adventures. I’ll probably buy Kinect Sports eventually. I didn’t like Joyride. I didn’t get to play Kinect Adventures much, but I’m getting a free digital copy for being in the beta. I had to download updates 1-2 times a week during the beta and I noticed improvements over time. I think Kinect is quite a bit better now than it was when the beta first started.

Dance Central is the only game that I’ve bought so far. It’s a lot of fun. You just have to get over looking like a fool. It’s made by the same people that made the first few Guitar Hero games and Rock Band. It’s not an easy game since I have no dance skills. It’s also physically demanding. Maybe 1 or 2 days a week I’ll skip going to gym and dance to “Poker Face” or “Poison” or something. I like the menu navigation in this game better than the 3 beta games. I can see companies getting pretty creative with navigation.

Speaking of navigation, I like being able to use voice commands and gestures to control some of the tasks on my 360. Neat features. One feature I have yet to try out is Video Kinect, which lets you have video chats over Xbox Live. You know how people are going to abuse that, so I don’t even have to say it.

Microsoft released a big dashboard update last week in preparation for Kinect. I got some of the updates when I got Kinect around the end of August and they rolled some of the others out later. I like that the audio quality will be better even though I haven’t chatted with anyone yet. ESPN on the 360 sounds cool, but I can’t watch live games since my ISP isn’t affiliated with ESPN3. It probably won’t be much use to me until something changes. Netflix search is the new feature I like the most. It’s a no-brainer, especially since I could already search when I used Netflix on my Roku. Other than better looking avatars, I can’t remember any other new features, but it seems like there were some.

I’m enjoying all the Xbox goodness that’s come lately. Of course, the games are going to make or break Kinect. I hope they come out with a lot of good games soon, so I don’t get bored with it like I did with the Wii, which I believe has been made obsolete by this device if it wasn’t already before.