*Scroll down for photos and additional reviews.*
(HUFFINGTON POST/AP, RON HARRIS) There are a lot of futuristic things we're still waiting on: jet packs for the entire family, self-driving cars and time-travel, to name a few. But one new, pretty darn amazing bit of technology has finally come to fruition, thanks to the folks at Microsoft.
The Kinect system, on sale beginning Thursday for the Xbox 360 game console, offers controller-free control of living room entertainment and aptly delivers a groundbreaking piece of technology.
It's part game controller, part fitness guru and part "Minority Report," the movie where Tom Cruise famously interacts with a multi-touch interface by making rapid motions with his hands. Instead of gripping a physical controller to play games and movies on your Xbox 360, Kinect allows you to simply move your body – hands, feet, hips – to do everything.
Kinect is a hybrid video camera and motion sensor that sits just above or below your television display. It looks like an extra wide webcam and connects to the Xbox 360 – even older models – through the USB port. Kinect sells for $150 and comes with one game; you can buy it bundled with a low-end Xbox 360 for $300, saving $50 on the package.
View the slideshow (below) to see what reviewers from Joystiq, Engadget, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and Gizmodo thought of the Microsoft Kinect. Will you purchase the motion-sensing system for yourself? Share your opinion in the comments.
"There’s a crazy, magical, omigosh rush the first time you try the Kinect. It’s an experience you’ve never had before," David Pogue of the New York Times writes.
Engadget's Ross Miller was more impressed with the Kinect's potential than with its performance. "[W]e think there's some fighting spirit inside that glossy shell, but it's definitely got a lot of growing up to do first," he wrote.
Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe called the Kinect Microsoft's "most innovative product in years." He continued thus: "[The Kinect is] far in front of rival technologies like the motion-sensitive controller of the Nintendo Wii game machine, or the Move controller for Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3."
"I'm conflicted," writes Gizmodo's Jason Chen. "Although the potential of the Kinect platform is evident, it's still unclear how more mainstream titles like Gears of War or Dead Rising or Fable can use these new gaming mechanics." Chen went on to questioned the Kinect's practicality, writing, It's also hard to justify the $150 price tag right now—especially when you need to purchase a whole raft of new games at $50 a pop just to use the thing. You also need a lot of space—way more than either the Wii or PlayStation Move requires, and this is a big problem."
"If Kinect does work for you, congratulations: you have what amounts -- for now -- to a novelty peripheral that is in no way geared towards the day-one buyer or "core" gamer," Joystiq's Randy Nelson writes. "Microsoft conceived a potential game-changer with Project Natal, it just seems like Kinect was born prematurely."