• E3 2013 Hands On (or is it Hands off?) Impressions with the Kinect One

      When I first saw the Kinect One a few weeks ago, I started to have my doubts almost immediately. The reason was because the first Kinect didn't work as well as we would have hoped. The controls were unresponsive at times, it seem to think that you were having a seizure, and the only games you could actually play on it was just Dance Central. Over at the Microsoft area of E3, they did have their games out on demo, but they also had an open area to fully demonstrate the brand new Kinect.

      While watching the demonstration, I figured that they were going to have a better working Kinect to show off, but I never imagined just how much improvements they improved on it. I was able to join another member of the audience on stage with the stage demo man as we stood in front of the camera. The picture looked great with the 1080p HD camera as the three of us staring at the camera. It was also demonstrated how the kinect can be able to see your full body movements without additional light to try and blind the Kinect One. The Middle man took out a flashlight and pointed it directly at the camera, but the camera did not make any changes with who we looked on stage. From there we got to see just how detailed the kinect was observing our movements.

      The first is "Skeletal," which if you have tried the first kinect, is basically using lines and dots to identify your head, arms, hands, legs, and feet and how they move. This wasn't anything new, and this was really the only thing the original kinect operated on, and it was lackluster at best. However, that changed when they then introduced "Orientation." Orientation showed the three of us as block people, and what was unique here was that it was able to observe us as we turned our hands, wrists, & waists and bending our elbows and knees. The act of actually being able to recognize how we moved was proof that there were great improvements being done. Next, we were shown "Muscle & Impact" which showed us as blobs of colors in the form of people. The upper half of us was green but got more orange as you move down. The reason for this was the the
      kinect one can actually see how you apply pressure to your legs. If you pick up your leg, it turns green while the other leg goes more orange, and when you do various exercises, it shows the body slowly going orange to show how you are working the body out. Alongside with this, we also got to see how the act of throwing a punch can actually be read now. We were asked to throw a few punches and how when we threw the punches, white circles formed from our hands. The harder our punches, the bigger of the circles. While I don't recall seeing any fighting games working with the Kinect 1, this can open many possible new fighting games.

      Next, there we were given more details about how the Kinect can read your heart rate. Supposedly, there are sudden changes in our faces that the camera can sense that can't be sensed by the human eye that can show our heart rate. From there, we were shown how the Kinect can also read "expressions." While it can follow our heads no matter where we move (besides behind one another) it can see if we are happy or expressive, if our mouths are open or close, if we are talking or not and if we are paying attention or not. From there, a controller was handed around, and the controller can be identified with whoever was holding it. We were also shown how we move is the "third thumbstick" now, and how we try to sway around, that was responding to how we move. A good way to describe it would be the "Police 911" arcade game and how when you sway to avoid getting shot. As the presentation ended, three more members of the audience were asked to come on stage, and we got to see how all six of us were actually not only identified, but each person can be tracked through our faces and movements.

      Now, the Kinect One still isn't finished yet since I did ask if it can track me doing a push up, and it can't track floor movements yet, but hopefully they will do that soon enough. While alot of us are making fun of the "$500" price tag, it now makes sense to me now. The Xbox One console is worth $400, but the Kinect one does add that extra $100 to the price tag. At least this time, the Kinect actually does work great, and hopefully in the future, we will get to see even better Kinect games comes out.

      Now, before I posted this article, I went over to our Facebook group and went ahead to post my initial thoughts of the Kinect One and how it can be properly justified to now be bundled with the Xbox One cost wise. After looking through the various responses, I found one comment that was particularly interesting:

      "... I see where he is getting at with the price and I realized that after the E3 event. PS3 itself is 400. The PS Eye is around 60-70 bucks. So if you were to buy them together you are spending around 500 bucks ((This includes taxes)). M$ is selling you a console plus the Kinect. The system is 400 plus 100 bucks for the Kinect.. so that is why they priced it at 500. That is my agreement with the Price."

      Of course, we haven't heard much of the next generation of PS Eyes or how the Playstaion Move controllers will work on the PS4. Chances are that if and/or when it gets implimented, it could very well add onto the cost and make the final price close to what the Xbox One currently is set as. It is mainly the idea that the Kinect is bundled and required that the cost of the Xbox One is at that higher price mark. I suppose my main point here is that while Microsoft has been receiving less than favorable approval ratings as of late, we shouldn't try and bash on the Xbox One in regards of its price because it can actually be justified as to why it is at $500 and we can honestly and safely say that the Kinect is actually worth the $100 add-on that it is. Now as for the games that will be for the Kinect One and if they work properly is another thing to be analysised at another time, but for the time being, I can say that if I was forced to buy the Kinect One, I wouldn't have any problems doing so.

      If you would like to see the demostration, be sure to check out the video down below.