It’s a controversial opinion to share, but it's one I can’t pretend about anymore – I like Kinect.
I live in a house of interruptions thanks to my miniature human roommate, and as a result, the Kinect has become invaluable. It’s not its many advertised exercise functions and games that make me appreciate it so much. I couldn’t find the option to turn off gesture controls fast enough when I first hooked everything up. Rather, it’s a handful of limited voice commands I use constantly.
The words “Xbox on,” “Xbox play,” “Xbox pause,” “Xbox volume up,” and “Xbox volume down,” are all used daily in my household. It has far and away become the preferred method of control over the remote, or the controller, and made the Xbox One the foremost hub for all television entertainment over the other competing Netflix players hooked up to the TV. Using the Xbox One’s Kinect is faster than turning on the controller and less effort than tracking down the remote, making it perfect for when a child needs your help immediately to look at something important.
Usually, it's to make sure I acknowledge things like this have happened.
I’ve always admired the novelty of talking to my TV, but never saw it as practical. There is an embarrassing stigma related to talking to your electronics, partly because they don’t work 100% of time (which is absolutely the case with the Kinect), but also because it’s a new technology. When text messaging first started taking off, I recall the older generation questioning why you wouldn’t just make a call. The answer, as it turns out, is platitudes are time consuming, and often you just need a quick, straightforward response.
I initially felt the same way about talking to my console to control my entertainment – why not just use a remote? After nearly two years with the Xbox One, it turns out the answer is somewhat similar. Platitudes are time consuming (in this case looking for the controller, and acknowledging it by turning it on) and the quicker I can get the volume up or down, or pause a movie the better.
This picture makes sense in context, I promise.
In terms of playing games, I still struggle to find value with the Kinect. I have always enjoyed the Dance Central games, but that’s where my list of favorite Kinect games starts and stops. From a gaming perspective, the device has always been pitched as an excuse to get up and move into your game. It’s a lovely idea, but it simply doesn’t work well enough, even with the best floor plan and lighting. If I have to get up, move, and exert substantial effort to play a game, the least you can do for me is work properly.
It’s ironic that after finally finding a practical use for the Kinect, it is one born of laziness. I love telling my Kinect to turn the volume down or to pause a movie because it enables me to avoid that extra bit of effort related to finding a remote, or turning on the controller and press a few buttons. I may not be playing games with the Kinect, or waving hello at it to select items from the menu, but after finally getting over the stigma of speaking at my TV for standard playback functions, I can’t imagine using the Xbox One, and by extension watching TV and movies, without it.
To see the time the Xbox One's Kinect thought I was a giraffe, head here.