This is your guide to everything you need to know about Xbox 360 Kinect: how it works, what it costs, and what games you can play on it.
What Is Kinect?
Microsoft calls Kinect a hands-free motion control device for the Xbox 360. It allows players to control games using a combination of body movement and spoken commands without having to hold a controller in their hands. As Microsoft is fond of saying, with Kinect you are the controller.
How Does The Kinect Work?
The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar connected to a motorised base that sits somewhere above or below the player's television set. Built into the bar is an RGB camera, a multi-array microphone, and a depth sensor. These three elements combined allow the Kinect to perform 3D motion capture and facial and voice recognition. Basically, if the player moves, the Kinect can track it and convert those motions into data used to control Kinect-ready games and features.
The depth sensor consists of an infrared projector and a sensor. The projector projects a continuous infrared pattern over its field of vision, which the sensor uses to interpret the scene.
Facial, voice and motion recognition is handled by Microsoft's Kinect software.
Check out Kotaku's full Kinect review for our opinion on how well the device performs.
When Does Kinect Launch?
Kinect launched on November 4, 2010, in North America. It will launch in Europe on November 10, Australia on November 18, and finally in Japan on November 20.
How Much Does Kinect Cost?
The cost of Kinect depends on what equipment you already possess. All prices below are in Australian dollars, unless otherwise stated.
If you do not own an Xbox 360, then you'll want to pick up a Kinect console bundle. There are two versions available: The 4GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle, which retails for $449; and the 250GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle, which runs $549. Both bundles come with the Kinect sensor and a copy of the Kinect Adventures game.
If you already own an Xbox 360, then all you need to purchase is the Kinect sensor itself. It retails for $199, and comes packaged with Kinect Adventures.
It bears noting that the motorised stand for the Kinect requires additional power that original model Xbox 360 consoles cannot provide, so players will need an additional power outlet hand. The newer model Xbox 360 slim consoles have a built-in port specifically to power the Kinect sensor, and therefore require no additional outlets.
How Much Space Does Kinect Require?
Kinect needs to have the player's entire body in view at all times in order to work properly, so you'll need to have a fair amount of unobstructed space between you and the sensor. Microsoft recommends 1.8m of space between the player and the Kinect sensor for singleplayer games, and at least 2.4m for two-player games. Player size is also a concern, as Kotaku's Michael Fahey, standing at 1.98cm tall, had to stand further back than other players during trade show demonstrations.
Read all about Kotaku's experience configuring a room for Kinect.
What Games Are Launching With Kinect?
Microsoft and third-party developers have come together to create a strong line-up of launch titles for Kinect, with 17 titles available within the device's launch window.
Publisher: MTV Games Genre: Dancing Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
From Harmonix, the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Dance Central is a game that uses the Kinect to track your movements as you attempt to dance along to some of the hottest dance hits around, with music from Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe and more.
Adrenalin Misfits Publisher: Konami Genre: Racing Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Colourful characters race snowboards across seven unique fantasy worlds in Konami's Adrenalin Misfits. Collect power-ups, race against bosses and use your body to control the board.
The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout Publisher: THQ Genre: Fitness Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Based on the hit reality game show, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout sees players performing various exercises and activities in order to burn calories, just like the people on television do, only without the drama.
Dance Masters Publisher: Konami Genre: Dancing Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Another dancing game, this time from Konami, publisher of the Dance Dance Revolution series of games. Dance along to various Hip Hop, R&B and Techno tracks.
Deca Sports Freedom Publisher: Hudson Genre: Dancing Release Date: November 16 in the US Price: $US39.99
Hudson brings its Deca Sports franchise to Kinect, with 10 different sports for players to compete in: snowboard cross, beach volleyball, figure skating, mogul skiing, dodge ball, paintball, archery, boxing, tennis and kendo.
EA Sports Active 2 Publisher: EA Genre: Fitness Release Date: November 16 in the US Price: $US99.99
EA Sports brings its fitness franchise to the Kinect with EA Sports Active 2, a full-featured exercise game complete with more than 70 exercises and activities, online workout tracking, and a heart rate monitor bundled with the game.
Fighters Uncaged Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: fighting Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Ubisoft explores the world of illegal fighting tournaments in Fighters Uncaged, allowing Kinect users to turn their body into a deadly weapon with more than 50 brutal fighting moves.
Game Party: In Motion Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment Genre: Party Release Date: November 4 in the US Price: $US39.99
Game Party: In Motion is a collection of 16 different mini-games for the whole family to play, from pool to skee-bowling.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: The Videogame Publisher: EA Genre: Action Adventure Release Date: November 16 in the US Price: $US49.99
It's the video game of the first instalment of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie, giving players total motion control over Harry's wand as he does whatever he does in the movie.
Kinect Joy Ride Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Genre: Racing Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Joy Ride is the first controller-free car racing game, allowing players to race through wild tracks with only the motion of their body between them and the road.
Kinect Adventures Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Genre: Party Release Date: November 18 Price: Free
Bundled with every Kinect sensor, Kinect Adventure's five mini-games are perfect for giving your new Kinect a workout.
Kinectimals Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Genre: Pet Sim Release Date: November 18 Price: $69.95
Befriend adorable jungle cats in one of the most kid-friendly Kinect games available at launch. Pet, groom, and play games with your adorable pet. It's the cutest thing ever.
Kinect Sports Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Genre: Sports Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95 It's Microsoft's answer to Wii Sports, with multiple ways to play soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, track and field, and boxing alone or with friends.
Motion Sports Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: Sports Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Ubisoft's MotionSports is a more realistic take on sports mini-games, featuring some eye-catching graphics and a wide variety of events to participate in.
Sonic Free Riders Publisher: Sega Genre: Racing Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Sgea takes its Sonic the Hedgehog hoverboard racing hands-free in Sonic Free Riders. Race against Sonic's friends and enemies across several colourful themed tracks.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved Publisher: Ubisoft Genre: Fitness Release Date: November 18 Price: $89.95
Your Shape Fitness Evolved uses proprietary technology to track 1 million dots on the player's body, making it one of the most technically capable fitness games available. With workouts created by some of the biggest names in the fitness industry and the promise of downloadable workouts, it might be the only fitness game you'll ever need for Kinect.
Zumba Fitness: Join the Party Publisher: Zumba Fitness Genre: Fitness Release Date: November 18 in the US Price: $US39.99
Hot international dance steps and sexy Latin music make Zumba Fitness a different sort of fitness game entirely. Almost a combination of a dance game and a fitness title, with more that 30 routines and support for up to four players.
Should I Buy Kinect?
Will you love the Kinect or hate it? That all depends on you, but you can check out <a href="