Kinect Launches in U.S., Can It See You?

Previously known as “Project Natal,” Microsoft unveiled connect at their pre-E3 event this past June. Kinect is now available to the public in the US. Kinect is a motion controller for the XBox 360 that allows you to play games with your body. It works something like the Wii, but uses cameras to track your movements.

The Kinect is a glossy, foot-wide, black plastic horizontal bar. You plug its single cable into your Xbox. (If you have the bulkier, pre-2010 Xbox, you also have to plug the Kinect’s power cord into the wall.) You park the Kinect itself on, or beside, your TV. During start-up, a motor moves the bar on its stand, making it scan the room up and down like some would-be Wall-E.

Early reviews suggest that Kinect is definitely fun, but has some drawbacks. You need to have a huge space to play around in, literally. If you have a studio apartment or a cramped space in front of your TV, you may as well hang it up. Kinect won’t be able to see you unless you’re a good 7 feet away.

Reports from Gamespot say that Kinect has a problem seeing dark-skinned people. According to two GameSpot employees, one dark-skinned individual had a problem with the face-recognition feature. The problem seems to be related to HP’s seemingly racist face-tracking video cameras. A third dark-skinned person had no problems, so the results seem inconclusive at this point.

Despite its perceived drawbacks, Kinect does a lot of cool stuff. For instance, you can do video chat with other Xbox 360 owners in addition to chatting with people via Messenger.

by rahsheen