E3 2010: Buying Kinect for the "Cool Factor" Alone

Regardless of what we may individually think of how Microsoft did at E3 this year, one thing is almost universally certain – the ideas behind their Kinect experience are pretty cool. Many people have compared the way you can use the device to wade through the dashboard menus to the way the hyper-tech computer screens appear to work in the movie Minority Report.

Long before we were given a detailed look at Kinect on Monday, we had seen how it could be used to navigate through the dashboard and through the Netflix application, among other things. Sure, I wouldn’t pay over a certain amount for the ability to feel like I’m Tom Cruise, but to a certain extent, the “cool factor” would play a part in my purchasing decision.

It would just be plain cool to be able to navigate your Xbox 360 with the motions of your hands and body instead of the standard way with a controller. Now, add to that the fact that you can’t get all “Star Trek computer” on the thing, forcing it to do your bidding with voice commands. “Xbox Play Music”, “Xbox Play Game”, yadda, yadda, yadda. I can actually see myself feeling like I’m on board the Enterprise – “Computer, lights”, “Computer play music”, “Computer flush toilet”.

As I was watching the conference with my wife, she had some remarks to make about Microsoft’s over-emphasis that the device is “hands free”, stating that it would be pretty easy to say “Xbox pause”, do something else with your hands (if you know what I mean), then say, “Xbox play porn” to start watching again. Does that add to the “cool factor”? You can be the judge of that.

Joking aside, while Sony’s Move is pretty hot-looking, as well (if you’re attending a rave), it is just a glorified Wii-mote, for the purposes of this discussion. Kinect seems to be an entirely different way to control, not necessarily your games, but the Xbox 360 itself, along with its various media-related functions. Now, imagine a network of Kinect-like devices throughout your home, that would recognize your movement and voice to perform certain actions, like “Xbox turn on kitchen faucet” or “Xbox open garage door”. Now the idea of the computer commands in Star Trek aren’t too farfetched, are they?

So, I’m in the camp that doesn’t necessarily want to play games with the thing (although a couple of them do look pretty cool), but I would drop some cash for the “cool factor” alone, and that feeling, however slight, to realize one of my childhood fantasies of actually having a computer react in some way to my every command. How about you, would the “cool factor” alone be enough for you to buy Kinect? How much would you pay for it, assuming you would just be using it for those mundane tasks?

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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