Microsoft held two different Kinect sessions behind closed doors today, one centered on the upcoming Xbox 360 Fall Update and the other on Kinect first-party title Kinect Adventures. While most of what was demonstrated has already been covered, there were a few nuggets of new information to be found here and there.
The first presentation focused on the new Xbox 360 Dashboard tailored specifically for Kinect. The representative first showed off the media slice of the Dashboard, particularly the nifty fast-forward and rewind features when watching a video, and then some of the other elements, like the already-seen Kinect Video Chat. Then came the chance for trying it out for myself. Navigating through the different sections of the dashboard, done by waving your hand to the right/left, felt quite intuitive yet slightly awkward, partly due to the fact to it being my first hands-on with the tech.
Since one of our dearest readers (thatâ€™s you Steve Perry) wanted to know whether or not you can navigate through the menus when on the floor, I quickly fired off the question at the representative and got a positive response. I was told that Kinectâ€™s tilt sensor is designed so that when you change your stance, say sit down on the floor, the device tracks your movement and shifts down. Sadly, I couldnâ€™t test this out, as the representative pointed out the hardware was still work in progress and didnâ€™t yet have such functionality integrated. Make of that what you willâ€¦
In the second Kinect demonstration, a friendly lady introduced me to the basics, replete with marketing spiel and then took me through three of available mini-games in Kinect Adventures. The first two adventures, River Rush and Reflex Ridge, have already been covered aplenty, so Iâ€™ll just say that the goal was to steer the rapids and scale a mountain with obstacle courses, respectively. The third mini-game was a never-before seen adventure which saw me and my companion popping rows and columns of bubbly spheres in a gravity-free room. To clear the upper level, I had to first lift my hands up in the air and then move them quickly back down, as if jumping. To get back to the ground, I had to simply straighten my arms against the body.
Overall, the experience, while certainly fun, proved out to be kind of frustrating at first, as I adapted to the problematic latency (the rep said they were shooting for a response time of 4ms), but once I got the hang of it, I indulged in all the jumping and flailing like a seven year-old kid. Having said that, Kinect has to be taken for what it is â€“ a device which provides fun times for your family and friends when played co-operatively and in short bursts.