imageToday is such an exciting day because today the wraps come off for Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 (in more ways than one)!  First, at midnight last night, Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 made its North America debut as it launched to festivities all over, including a large celebration in Times Square at the Toys “R” Us with lines of people spanning multiple blocks just to get their hands on this evolutionary/revolutionary new device.  If you’re on Twitter, just search on “Kinect” or follow the #Kinect hashtag and you will see thousands of people sharing comments in a constant flow expressing their excitement and anticipation over Kinect, having already received theirs or waiting for launch day delivery today.

Here on my blog, I have talked about Microsoft Kinect on several occasions over the past year, including:

Throughout the posts above and in countless conversations in person, on Twitter, on Facebook, and many other places, I have been singing the praises of Microsoft Kinect and how it will literally change the world of gaming and entertainment forever.  When people would ask, “Have you seen it?” or “Have you had a chance to play it?” or “How do you know?” my responses, as well as my posts, have continually pointed to online information we as a company have made available on the Xbox website, through the Xbox YouTube channel, or some other official Microsoft public location.  The same has been the case for my wife and kids as they have continued to rave over Microsoft Kinect and how incredible this new device really is.

The truth is, and now I can finally say it, we’ve been using Microsoft Kinect as beta testers in our house now for months and my excitement, enthusiasm, reviews, etc. of Kinect are not only based on what I have been pointing to online, but also on countless (I would be afraid to actually know the real number) hours of hands-on (with NO controllers needed) experience with Microsoft Kinect!  I have to say, I am very proud of my kids who always did their “homework” (go play with Kinect and test everything you can so we can report the feedback) but upheld the NDA to the extreme, including trips down to campus to come do tests here with the Xbox Kinect Team.

KinectBeta1 A picture of my gamer picture at home last night, now proudly sporting the Kinect Beta t-shirt as a participant in their phenomenal beta program!

I can tell you this: The Microsoft Kinect experience is like no other you have ever seen.  It provides an interactive platform with appeal to people of all ages with a hands-free control experience that everyone picks up and can do in no time, not to mention the ability to simply speak your commands and have your Xbox execute them just that easily. In addition, not only does Kinect change your interaction with games, but the ability to navigate movies, music, ESPN content, video chat conversations, and many other Xbox experiences with your hands and voice is unbelievable!  In addition, being able to join and leave games simply by walking in front of the Kinect sensor or walking away from it and having the Kinect sensor use facial recognition to automatically sign you in is so convenient (and really cool!)  Plus having Kinect track your entire body so that all of your actions translate into the actions of your player in a game, not like some other gaming consoles where you simply flick your wrist while having to hold a hunk of plastic to fake full movement, (and I am again speaking from personal experience after watching my kids and others play the other systems), really fosters and creates much more interactivity and fun for the users.  During the beta program we were not allowed to publicly disclose anything from the program; however, we could have some others test with us to test the experience, and everyone who tried our Kinect was completely blown away by it! 

The Xbox Kinect Team has been incredible throughout the entire process with constant communications, updates, responsiveness, and more.  You could literally feel the passion for this product from everyone involved in the program through every interaction, and personally, I believe that shows through in the finished product itself which is incredible!  It was an absolute honor and privilege to be a part of this beta program and I cannot thank the Xbox Kinect Team enough for this opportunity. 

On the note of proud, I am not sure if you saw this or not, but I came across this yesterday and can say that this is one of the reasons that I absolutely love working for Microsoft…  Their true commitment to giving and community outreach: Microsoft Gives Kinect to 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs Nationwide.

If you have not looked at the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 yet, I think you will be amazed when you see it.  I cannot encourage you enough to head out to the Microsoft Kinect page on the Xbox site to learn more as well as take a look at my Microsoft Kinect – One month until the gaming & entertainment world changes forever! post where I have included a bunch of information about Kinect in addition to links to where you can find a bunch more information online about it.  In addition, if you are on Twitter, be sure to follow the #kinect hashtag.  If you have already picked up your Kinect sensor, I would love to hear your input and feedback on what you think so far as well.

Also, just for kicks, I could not help but start thinking of several real-life scenarios where you might be able to recognize Kinect users based on their actions and how much easier the world would be if so many more things worked like Kinect.  I put together just one of the ideas (as a humorous one) in the comic here and thought I would share it.  For those with Kinect, I think you’ll get this one pretty quickly.  Smile  (Click the image to the right for full-size) KinectPauseComic
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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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