So, it’s official now. Project Natal will indeed be rechristened as Microsoft Kinect. I don’ know about you, but as far as I am concerned, “Project Natal” definitely sounded way cooler. In case you have been left bewildered by all the hoopla surrounding Microsoft Kinect, you have come to the right place. I will try to explain in brief exactly what Microsoft Kinect is and why everyone is so excited about it.
In many ways, Nintendo kick-started a gaming revolution with Nintendo Wii. Wii replaced a traditional gamepad with a motion sensing controller and made gaming fun again to a wide section of the population (not just the hardcore gamers). As a result, Wii has been selling like hotcakes ever since it was released.
Kinect is basically Microsoft’s response to the Wii. With Kinect, Microsoft has eliminated the controller altogether. Simply stated, it is an add-on for Xbox 360 that uses a sensor, containing cameras and microphones, to enable you to interact with the system through gestures, spoken commands and other objects. If you are having difficulty in wrapping your mind around this concept, have a look at the videos embedded below.
Last night, Microsoft officially announced Kinect in an elaborate spectacle at the Galen Centre. Amidst extravagant performances by Cirque du Soleil, Microsoft demoed some of the games that will be using Kinect.
Joyride: This is the racing game shown in the first video. You can control your car through various gestures executed by your hand and body, including rotating an imaginary steering wheel and changing (once again, imaginary) gears.
Kinectimals: This game lets you train and play with 20 different virtual cats including lions, cheetahs and tigers. As adorable as the game is, Microsoft really needs to fire the guy who keeps coming up with these bewilderingly stupid and confusing names.
Kinect Sports: Given the raging success of Wii Sports and Wii Fitness. It’s no surprise that Microsoft has decided to imitate them. Kinect Sports includes boxing, bowling, beach volleyball, track and field, soccer and table tennis. Once again, you will be using your entire body while playing. So expect the experience to be a whole lot more physical than your typical gaming session.
Kinect Adventures: With Kinetic Adventures, you don’t even need to head outdoors to get a taste of adventure. Finish obstacle courses or participate in river rafting time trials by jumping, swaying and executing other full-body movements. To make the experience even more fun, you can play K.A. with up to four friends.
Dance Central: This one is developed by MTV games and basically brings “So You Think You Can Dance” to every household.
Other games demoed include an unnamed fitness game for yoga and martial arts practice, and a truly kickass Star Wars game. Microsoft has tied up with content providers like Disney to ensure that plenty of games are available for the Kinect at launch.
Kinetic will definitely be launched in time for this holiday season. We are expecting an October-November launch; however, we will have to wait until Microsoft’s E3 keynote for the official word. Pricing is another aspect, which Microsoft has declined to comment on. Subscribe to Techie Buzz for more Microsoft Kinect updates.
(Images via Engadget)