Thursday, January 06, 2011

Kinect – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Ignore the naysayers, Microsoft’s Kinect appears to have taken the world by storm. It’s certainly dominating the headlines right now!

The good news is that sales of the black motion capture camera have reached the 8m mark in its first 60 days, according to the company’s CEO Steve Ballmer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It had been hoped that 5m would sell by the end of the year – the first 10 days saw a million sales, with 2.5m heading through the checkouts within 25 days. IGN reports that the 8m figure is the number shipped to retailers rather than sold to customers – but whatever the figure it still surely makes it one of the most successful peripheral debuts of all time. Not bad considering all the negative press from some quarters and hardcore types saying it would never work, eh? Sure, the jury’s still out until it gets some really decent titles in the pipeline but it’s not a bad start.

Now to the bad news… and stories have been emerging around the web and on numerous forums that numerous Xbox 360 consoles have been falling foul of the dreaded Red Rings of Death that have blighted the machine since its launch. The reason? Many are pointing the finger at Kinect (although because of the RROD, it’s obviously not being replicated by their on-screen avatar!). Coincidence? Microsoft says so.

And finally, the ugly – although this largely depends on your friendslist. Ballmer also revealed at the CES that the spring months will herald an update that makes Kinect and your avatar truly social. In adition to the speech and facial recognition, the device will be able to pick up your facial movements and allow you to join avatar parties for discussions and the like. Should these prove particularly enjoyable, you’ll be able to share them online for the rest of the world to enjoy! Check out the video to see how it all works…


Hmm...that last part sounds suspiciously like Playstation Home. So presumably we can expect a lot of hullabaloo at the start, followed by several weeks of female avatars being jostled, before the whole thing lapses into disuse?