A new Kinect-ion for video game lovers

Our gaming expert Nitin Mathew has a new crush on the video game circuit – and this one’s off the couch

When Nintendo launched the Wii in late 2006, it took the gaming world by storm.

While rivals Sony and Microsoft decided to battle it out in the high definition space, targeting core gamers with action, sports and racing games, the historically innovative Nintendo launched a console with a motion sensing technology and some relatively simple games that almost anyone could pick up and play.

The result was that it opened the world of gaming to a whole new demographic.

While gaming has always seen as something the youth engaged in, the Wii brought out the closet gamers among adults and seniors making gaming a more family friendly pastime, with parents, grandparents and siblings joining in on the fun with fairly simple renditions of real world activities such as tennis, bowling and much loved franchises from Nintendo's own stable, such as Mario and Zelda.

The Wii went on to amass a massive sales lead on its rivals and today stands in excess of 75 million units sold as of September this year.

Globally, the Wii is ahead of the other consoles and from a pure numbers perspective can claim to have won the current console war by a big margin.

Microsoft and Sony have responded back this year with the launch of Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move.

Having spent the last few weeks with the Kinect, I can boldly say that Kinect is the next generation of motion sensing gaming technology and gives players a sense of freedom from controllers that have been around since the beginning of gaming.

Microsoft has reason to celebrate even if only because the technology behind Kinect is absolutely awesome.

Kinect is not just a glimpse of the future of gaming, but also that of consumer technology as a whole.

I spent the last few weeks playing some of the seminal titles from Microsoft such as Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. Although I am used to realistic sports simulations from the likes of EA SPORTS, Kinect Sports gets me off the couch and makes me move like I haven’t done in over a decade.

The device quite accurately and quickly captures my movements and translates it into my on screen avatar.

While the games that have launched may seem lacklustre in terms of graphics and complexity compared to the action packed and viscerally explosive stuff that we’re used to on the Xbox 360, they are nonetheless fun and addictive.

The Kinect is basically a camera device that sits above or in front of your TV, ideally about 6 to 8 feet away and connects to your Xbox 360 via a USB cable.

Setup is a walk in the park and the onscreen guidance is very good. There will be moments when you wander away from the safe zone and have to find your way back. This may be a challenge for those who do not have a fairly large living room or are encumbered by large pieces of furniture.

Launch titles for this device include Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports and Your Shape (a fitness based “game”), so what remains to be seen is how game developers will harness the capabilities of this device to create new ways to enjoy the most popular genres of games.

Core gamers may not be driven to buy the device just yet, but I highly recommend it to those with families and it makes for a great gift this season and is a sure fire way of bringing people together.

The writer has spent the last decade marketing for the world's leading video game companies, in the Middle East region.
He is contactable on
nitin@mathewonline.com or twitter.com/uglee.


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