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Biometric Devices: Microsoft’s Kinect Pays South Africa A Visit

Biometric Devices: Microsoft’s Kinect Pays South Africa A VisitMicrosoft’s Kinect is coming into full swing these days and we’ve been reading more and more articles about the system, their bid to compete with Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s Playstation Move. Kinect offers hands-free control where you can make an avatar move as you do with the wave of your hand, punch of your fist, or a hop, skip and a jump.

In a recent review posted at, a South African author details Kinect’s unveiling at its first public appearance in South Africa at the Rage Expo earlier this year.

First things first, “It works,” he says, Kinect doesn’t appear to be some smoke and mirrors campaign by Microsoft. And players found it to be fun and accurate when it came to picking up their movements as they paraded around.

The hardware is impressive, though the author writes, but the games need more development overall. And there are still a few kinks that need to be smoothed out over time.
He played a number of games, beginning with Kinect Sports, which seems to be the most obvious choice for a motion gaming system. Nintendo has Wii Sports, and it makes sense that companies would base these sorts of gaming systems around fitness-themed activities and games.

The author demoed a ping pong game and after a quick calibration to figure out which hand you’d be hitting with, they were ready to play. In the game, players move their hands around in a forward motion to hit the ball, swinging a forehand or smashing a backhand onscreen. The avatar moved correctly and responded accurately but it was impossible to alter the ball’s lateral direction, and so it made for long and boring rallies that seemingly went on forever without a mistake. The lack of control was a problem but that seems to be more a function of the game itself rather than the game play. It supposedly has a lot of potential.

In another game, the author raced a car around a track using his hands in the driving motion. There was no acceleration or braking, but you hold your hands out as if you’re holding a steering wheel to guide your car along the way. Sounds like another case of something that works, but doesn’t offer much in the way of subtle control.

Kinect ‘hands-on’ impressions from Rage Expo 2010