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Xbox Kinect First Look

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If you had your appetite for Kinect whet by Stuart's hands-on at E3 (or hands-off, if you like terrible puns) you'll probably be wondering how the development of Microsoft's latest foray into the world of casual gaming is progressing. The short answer: is "pretty well," the long answer is, well, it's complicated.

The question of whether Kinect, as an extension of the Xbox 360 platform, will attract the audience of casual gamers that has so far eluded Microsoft remains to be answered - and we're not about to try and predict the incorrigibly fickle market. But what we can say is that all other considerations aside, Kinect is shaping up to be one hell of a technology showcase.

As a number of reporters - our very own Stuart Andrews included - commented, one of the most impressive achievements of Kinect is the way it 'just works' without any user set-up needed other than positioning the sensor somewhere in the vicinity of your display. Its detractors might deride the £129 Kinect sensor bar as a glorified webcam (or a pair of webcams, to be precise), but it's in the software that the clever stuff really happens; and even Arthur C. Clarke would have no problem conceding that Kinect is sufficiently advanced technology to be indistinguishable from magic.

It's almost uncanny just how well Kinect is able to translate your movement in the real world into the movement of an avatar on your Xbox 360. This only adds to the intuitiveness of the interface. See an obstacle in front of you on a white water rafting course? Well it only makes sense to jump over it. Looking to improve your sprinting time? Then pick up your knees and run faster.

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