Microsoft takes over Dundas Square for Kinect launch; will gamers pay more to look sillier?

Microsoft takes over Dundas Square for Kinect launch; will gamers pay more to look sillier?

A young woman demonstrates why the Kinect is best used in the privacy of one's home (Image: popculturegeek.com) 

More than a year ago, Microsoft announced something called Project Natal. It was an idea that promised to be the next big thing in video games and home entertainment, allowing people to control their games and movies with voice commands and gestures. Everyone paid attention; the implications for porn alone were huge. Yesterday, Microsoft took over Dundas Square for the launch of Natal, since renamed Kinect, and the reviews so far are pretty mixed. The consensus is that there’s a lot of promise, but a) there are still some bugs, and b) no one’s made a killer program for it yet. (Sound familiar?)

The National Post’s Matt Hartley writes:

As a technology reporter, every now and then you’ll get a chance to experience a new gadget that really blows your mind—it’s like the first time you used an iPhone or played Wii Sports in your living room. That’s the feeling you get when playing Kinect for the first time. It’s downright otherworldly…It’s enough to make even the most cynical gamer feel like they’re at the controls of a computer built by Batman.

Amazing as that sounds, there are problems, and they might be showstoppers. People with small living rooms—in a 450-square-foot condo, say—will need to move some furniture around, because the Kinect needs six to eight feet between players and the TV to work properly. It doesn’t work with Netflix (not that this matters very much in Canada). And then there’s the embarrassing fact that the Kinect seems to have a problem with black people.

Even if Microsoft manages to fix these glitches, we’re wondering if there are really that many people looking to drop $150 on something that forces them to look as silly as the average Dance Dance Revolution player.
• FP Tech Desk: Microsoft’s Kinect a game-changing technology in search of a killer game [National Post]
• Ampersand Arcade: Microsoft launches the Kinect [National Post]
• Review: Flawed Kinect Offers Tantalizing Glimpse at Gaming’s Future [Wired]
• Microsoft’s Kinect Has Trouble Recognizing Dark-Skinned Faces [Business Insider]