I was a Kinect Beta Tester.

Finally I’m able to talk about it!

In August I received an e-mail from Microsoft stating that they were going to start accepting applications in a few weeks to beta test their new hardware Kinect and if I was interested I should apply. Of course I was interested and I clicked on the link, filled out the application then sat patiently to see what would happen. 

About a week later I got the approval e-mail welcoming me to the beta and listing out the details about the beta program and when to expect my system.  I was given a list of rules to follow: don’t post pictures online, don’t blog about it, don’t talk to the media etc, etc, in other words: DON”T SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE.  Any word about having this system would result in removal from the program and possibly fines for breaking the agreement.  I was okay with this, I mean, if I was able to try something out three months before the general public got their hands on it I was going to keep my digital mouth shut.

When it arrived I wasted no time in setting it up and downloading the games that were available to play: Joyride and Kinect Sports. I did have to do some adjusting to my living room to make space to play because you need between 6 to 8 feet distance between the sensor and you.   Now moving stuff around was a bit of a hassle, but hey, it’s a small price to pay to play the games.  Now the games were fun to play, but I spent more time playing Joyride than I did the sports game, because that one felt more like Wii Sports and it was mainly one player events.

I did get Kinect Adventures, the game that comes bundled with the sensor, but I just got that one about a week ago.  Kinect Adventures is a lot of fun, but again the space requirement made two player games a little hard to do.  Not only was I given those games to play but I my dashboard was also updated to the newer version that released last week.  So not only did I have the Kinect hub, but I also had ESPN and Video Kinect, which allows 360 owners to video chat with one another or with anyone that uses windows messenger through their PC and web cam.

Although the system is a lot of fun, it does have a few errors that, for the average person, might not seem like a big deal.  The motion detecting at times is a little rough.  If you do not have the right amount of space between the sensor and yourself you’ll find yourself leaning in to be detected by the sensor.  Also if anything walks in between you and the sensor that obstacle will be detected and affect the on screen action.  While the Kinect does have voice recognition, it doesn’t distinguish between players voices, so this might be a nuisance if too many people are calling out different commands to the Xbox.

I did have a lot of fun with my Kinect and couldn’t wait for the official launch date so I can write about my experiences with the device.  The only thing I was dreading was if I had to return the sensor after testing was done, but last week I received an e-mail thanking me for my participation in the beta and letting me know that  the sensor was mine to keep.  I was also notified that I would be recieveing a voucher code to get Kinect Adventures free to download onto my Xbox360.  

The Kinect is a breakthrough in how we will play our 360 in years to come.  Although there are a few errors in the system, these are things that will probably be corrected down the road with a small patch or update.  The technology is great and I like the fact that your whole body is involved in the gameplay, not just your hands.  Microsoft really took gaming to another level with this and hopefully the games that come out in the future take full advantage of this hardware.

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