So, it's now out. I don't own a 360, but I find the Kinect tech to be interesting and I know there are some community members who have spoken about getting it, so I figured a space for discussion would be good.
A promising review here:
Let's do the 'no trainers' checklist:
* Kinect is not for you if... you intend to play it your bedroom. Unless you're Prince Harry, you almost certainly won't have the space. (If you're reading, your Highness, Just Say No).
* Kinect is not for you if... physical exertion is an issue. As already described, it's likely to exhaust you - especially in those eager first few hours.
* Kinect is not for you if... you're the sort of illogical, sticky-pad crank who refuses to entertain technology also enjoyed by housewives. (If so, may I recommend you consider chucking out your microwave. Warning: You may have to warm your Rustler's burgers on a radiator as a result).
For the rest of you, Kinect is an absolute pleasure to have in the home. Much more importantly, it's a reliable one.
Within an hour of messing about with the Kinect Dashboard, any nagging question marks over lag and unresponsiveness are snuffed out. Your on-screen hand matches your real-life movements near-perfectly, whilst the voice commands (ranging from "Xbox, Kinect" to "Xbox, Zune Highlights") are an absolute revelation.
Likewise, worries that the device won't be able to recognise you sitting down soon fizzle to nothing; I successfully reclined to 'arse off the cotton' levels, whilst still managing to flick between menus, movies and music as if I were swatting away flies.
It looks good on your TV stand, too. A glossy black technology Toblerone - complete with crowd-pleasing nods and whirs every time you boot up your 360 - it has something of the Short Circuit about it; every bit as impressive as it is adorable. (Until you put the launch software in your disc tray, that is - but more on the games later.)
Bad news is, it's racist:
GameSpot testing suggests facial recognition features of Microsoft's motion-sensing camera system might not work properly for some gamers.
Source: In testing the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees had problems getting the system's facial recognition features to work.
What we heard: Part of Microsoft's $500 million marketing push for Kinect includes positioning it as an accessible entertainment device for all audiences. However, it may be more accessible to some than others.
While testing out the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees experienced problems with the system's facial recognition abilities. The system recognized one employee inconsistently, while it was never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts. However, Kinect had no problems identifying a third dark-skinned GameSpot employee, recognizing his face after a single calibration. Lighter-skinned employees were also consistently picked up on the first try.
Right now it's too expensive (for me) and lacking in titles other than Dance Central. If I do manage to get myself a 360 as planned in about 6 months the Kinect will probably come bundled with Dance Central by then, and there should be more games.
So, who's getting it? Anyone got it? Who is, like me, interested but not ready to commit?