What Exactly Can Kinect for Xbox 360 Do?

Kinect for Xbox 360 is originally known by the code name Project Natal, but Microsoft

Kinect for Xbox 360 is originally known by the code name Project Natal, but Microsoft felt Kinect was a more appropriate name. In a nutshell, Kinect is based on a webcam-style peripheral for the Xbox 360 console that enables gamers to play, control, and interact with the Xbox 360 without using a controller whatsoever.

As the name implies, Kinect lets you control gameplay through gestures, spoken commands, and presented objects and images. Currently, Kinect for Xbox 360 is in competition with Wii Remote, Wii Motion Plus and Play Station Move.

Sounds like the stuff of Star Wars and other sci-fi futuristic movies, right? Actually, I’m reminded of Michael and Janet Jackson’s video Scream where the siblings engage in a costly CGI video game of racquetball smashing the vases battle. Not exactly what Kinect for Xbox 360 can do as of the moment, but you get the gist of it.

So what can Kinect do? The Kinect sensor is a horizontal device to be placed lengthwise atop or below the video display. It features an RGB camera, a depth sensor and multi-array microphone running proprietary software which provides full-body 3D motion capture, as well as face and voice recognition. Once activated by the simple wave of your hand, the sensor recognizes you the gamer, and pulls up your corresponding avatar. Talk about sweeet.

Literally then, gamers are freed from the shackles of a corded game controller, and only have to rely on their bodily movement and voice. Punch and your avatar punches onscreen; kick and you kick onscreen too. That’s called full body play in ways gamers have always dreamt of.

As for the voice recognition, just say “Xbox” and a series of voice commands presents themselves. Perfect for watching HD movies. As you can see, Kinect goes beyond gaming; it’s a total entertainment console that lets you get your sports, movies and TV from Sky with Sky Player, HD movies through Zune, or streaming music from Zune and Last.fm.

Needless to say, for the gaming part, you’ll need lots of floor space to fully appreciate Kinect, and even then, only two “wildly gesticulating” players can go at a time. Sometimes, tracking becomes problematic as one player inadvertently goes out of frame.

The titles for Kinect

Right now, Microsoft has a line-up of 17 games suited to Kinect for XBOX 360. The list includes Kinectimals, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout,Fighters Uncaged, EA SPORTS Active 2, DanceMasters, and Motion Sports.

Now for the pricing: Kinect for Xbox 360 costs $149.99. The Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect costs $299.99 while Xbox 360 250GB Console with Kinect costs $399.99.

Kinect was launched in North America on November 4, 2010, and in Europe on November 10, 2010. Release date in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore will be on November 18, 2010, while for Japan, it’s on November 20, 2010.