Using my personal experience as a guide, I can tell you hands down that the Xbox 360 Kinect is a breakthrough in technology. Here is a little secret which I will share with you about what happened when I actually saw the device in action in New York this past August thanks to Zig Serafin, General Manager, Speech and Larry Heck, Chief Scientist, Speech at Microsoft.
Picture this – I was sitting on the edge of stage where there were a number of stairs – maybe eight or ten behind me. I had a briefing in which Zig and his team explained how the company’s speech strategy was evolving. But then they said I had to take a look at something.
We got up and walked 15 feet away to a large flat screen TV which had an Xbox 360 with a Kinect attachment. By now, many of you know this gadget uses cameras to detect your body and allows your entire body to act as a remote control.
I played a river rafting and car racing game and was blown away. It was incredible.
I was so excited that when I sat down, I didn’t notice the chair had one leg leaning over the first stair. Suffice it to say I did backflips down the stairs – somehow I survived, landing on my feet with everything but my ego intact.
I can just imagine the comments at Microsoft – hey is Tehrani coming to this party? Be sure and hide the china. Does anyone know where we keep the paper plates?
I swore everyone to secrecy but following the general principle that tragedy+time=comedy, I now think the incident is quite humorous and worth sharing.
I have now had Kinect in my house for a few months and have purchased two games – Sports and Dance Central. Both are addictive – ping pong is a great game and the dance game gives you an incredible workout without you even realizing you are exercising. Using your body as a remote control is a game changer (the pun may be intended) and it is a matter of time before Kinect technology becomes integrated into other devices and possibly our general computing experience.
As I told Microsoft’s public relations team, I am head over heels for Kinect.
Now word is out that Stephen McGill, the Director of Xbox in the UK says, “Kinect is going to blow people’s minds. They’re [already] buying it, but we’ve got a line-up of Kinect games that will blow people away.”
And who could doubt them? The possibilities are endless when your body becomes a controller and as the resolution of Kinect increases by a factor of four, we can expect the game to get that much more accurate.
In a world where more and more of us are sitting all day on couches and office chairs, games which encourage people to get up and move allows consumers to not only get their technology fix but enjoy the experience while receiving a stealth work-out.
And if Microsoft ever comes out with a game which has players going down stairs backwards, I formerly request royalties.
Update: Check out how World of Warcraft and other games can be controlled by Kinect: