Microsoft presents 1st venture in motion-sensor gaming market

Chris Roche, Sports Editor

Microsoft finally caught up with the rest of the gaming world. They released the new Xbox Kinect just in time for Christmas.

The Kinect is the latest motion control video game system on the market, and it looks the most promising compared to the Wii and the new PlayStation Move.

The Kinect scans over your body and allows you to use your body to control everything on the screen.

Unlike the Move or the Wii, Kinect eliminates the controller and features only a sensor bar containing an RGB camera, 3D depth sensors and a built in multi-array microphone.

The sensor bar comes on a miniature stand and features a motorized pivot which automatically adjusts to scan the surroundings.

The combination of the depth sensor and RGB camera allows the Kinect to see in 3D.

By scanning a number of individual joints in the body, it is able to accurately track the player.

The Xbox dashboard was also remodeled to support the Kinect. Microsoft also amped up the software to support the Kinect system.

A word of warning to anyone looking to pick up Kinect: you will be reminded time and time again by the console that you need 6-8 feet of play area with no coffee table or anything else between you and the sensor.

The Kinect requires a lot of room.

Once you figure out how to set up the Kinect properly, it is great to use.

The voice command works out very well, even when I was using a casual voice with music playing in the background it was able to understand the commands. The hand motion works just as well. Sitting down in my chair, I was able to scroll through my music library without any controllers.

The multi-player feature is also very strong. A friend and I were able to play the games with ease. But like before, the Kinect requires even more room; instructions recommend 9 -11 feet of room when playing a Kinect game with a friend.

Coming in at $150, the Kinect is no small investment (keep in mind, no Xbox included).

If gaming is a hobby you enjoy, the Kinect is a must buy. The Kinect feels like it is everything the Wii should have been: clean, accurate, smart, wireless, motion-sensor gaming.