278: Make Room for Kinect

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Make Room for Kinect

With just a little effort and some graph paper, you too can turn your cramped apartment into a Kinect-ready playland.

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Or, save yourself the time, effort, and heartache when the games suck, and the money for rhe expensive add-on and DON'T BUY IT! Let it die in the same landfill as the virtual boy!

Well, I'm not gonna even enter the damn aisle in BestBuy where they're being sold, but I did have a nice laugh at this. Apparently, the family room in my house is bigger than some people's apartment. >.>

What if you live somewhere that has a pole in the way that you can't move because it supports the foundation of your house?

BULLDOZE THE HOUSE

[Note: The author and The Escpaist do not endorse the bulldozing of homes.]

Ephraim J. Witchwood:
Well, I'm not gonna even enter the damn aisle in BestBuy where they're being sold, but I did have a nice laugh at this. Apparently, the family room in my house is bigger than some people's apartment. >.>

Some people live in one room appartments, were everything is in the same room and the bathroom is shared by everyone living on the same floor.

I wont be getting Kinect at all. I'm interested to see how big name dev's and publishers take it on and I do think it's a great piece of tech, just not implemented properly.

When I lived in Summer Hill (I'm in Sydney, Australia) my trendy-location shoebox apartment would not have enabled me to enjoy Kinect. There was about 4'^2 of clearance between the TV and the couch, and a large chunk of that was taken up by coffee table.

I moved further out west about a year ago to a less desirable suburb, but for the same money I have a lot more space. Providence!

My recommendation: move somewhere else.

Surely it's not too much to ask that you relocate for your love of games?

This sounds like entirely too much work for a new, unproven periphery. I say it dies a slow and drawn out death. The Wii did motion sensing first, it did it cheaper, and it did it a hell of a lot more conveniently than Kinect's shenanigans. Perfect lighting? 8 square feet? rearrange the room? To put it quite plainly, fuck that. I'd rather hit one button and flop down on the couch with a Wiimote than jump through all the hoops.

The title font keeps reminding me of the font used on one of the many covers for one of the many reprints of Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!. Which was probably not intentional but I found very clever.

So instead of making kinect fit around my life, I have to fit my life around Kinect? That's immersion right there.

Unlike most people that'll likely comment on this article, I'm actually getting a Kinect and looking forward to it, even though I'm part of the "core" gaming market rather than the casual. I'm a broke college student and even in my cheapest, seediest apartment I had plenty of space for a Kinect. Seriously, unless you live in a New York closet apparently, you shouldn't have too much of an issue. The Wii and Move don't require as much space, sure, but they still require some. Look at the warnings on the loading screens that pretty much say "keep people out of your arms reach". Honestly, 8ft is a very small amount of space. I like both the Wii and the Move as well, but everyone's gonna turn this thread into a "Kinect sucks, Move rocks" thread, and it's getting kind of old. Remember when everyone said the Wii was gonna fail? Damn, well... I guess it didn't. Let the tech come out, let it get some games over time, then judge it.

Pugiron:
Or, save yourself the time, effort, and heartache when the games suck, and the money for rhe expensive add-on and DON'T BUY IT! Let it die in the same landfill as the virtual boy!

Here's the thing. As Extra Credits pointed out, so much time, money, and investment has gone into Kinect that if the thing sinks, it could seriously affect the video game industry in an adverse way. This goes for Move too. We may not want the waggle war being fought within our lands, but we have no choice. The industry brought this upon itself and now we have to make sure the ship can float before she drowns in the sea of failed enterprise.

ObsessiveSketch:
This sounds like entirely too much work for a new, unproven periphery. I say it dies a slow and drawn out death. The Wii did motion sensing first, it did it cheaper, and it did it a hell of a lot more conveniently than Kinect's shenanigans. Perfect lighting? 8 square feet? rearrange the room? To put it quite plainly, fuck that. I'd rather hit one button and flop down on the couch with a Wiimote than jump through all the hoops.

Unfortunately, this is quoted for truth. I'm not going to spend christ knows how long shifting things, buying things and building things just so i can play kinect. Especially as the shovelware coming out on release is extremely unappealing. If something genuinely awesome and more relevant to me came out (yes, call me a call of honour / medal of duty FPS lolboy) or perhaps included kinect implementation in an RPG, like having the player speak the dialogue lines of their character in Dragon Age 2, then i would put all this effort into integrating it into my gaming life. But as it stands now? No. No way am i going to buy and build a storage unit and shift everything just so i can jump about like a twat while i pretend to run on the spot, when i could just go down to the gym and hop on the treadmill for the same experience. But the dance game looks good right? Again, if i wanted to dance, i'd go take classes rather than go through all that effort (and expense) of having to do it in the room where my xbox currently resides. Even if i did shift everything, it's still not exactly ideal for full body motion. I appreciate what the writer of the article was trying to do. And it is encouraging. But if you look at the myriad of things that he writes out that you need to do to "make room for kinect", it almost sounds like a satirical rant about how much time money and effort needs to go into Microsoft's new toy. In fact, i have trouble discerning whether he wrote it to genuinely promote kinect or to satirise it.

Even supposing I was the target audience for the Kinect - which couldn't be further from the truth, I don't even own an X-Box - seeing the lengths urban residents would have to go to just to make the system work at all does indeed strike me as needlessly convoluted. And not just because I live in the suburbs in what I would consider a fairly small house - by typical urban standards it would probably be considered palatial, but out here it's pretty small.

Is the gimmick of button-less motion controls honestly worth all the extra effort and disruption it would take to experience? Again, I'm not a console gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but I look at Kinect marketing materials and it's like watching advertising aimed exclusively at extraterrestrial beings with minds fundamentally distinct from our normal human brains. I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would want one - all the games look like pointless fluff, sports/casual titles with the depth of a pencil line, fare fit only for the waggle-crowd of the Wii - and the control methodology itself seems to be ill-suited for titles that would actually be of interest for those of my mindset.

Put simply, if I wanted to jump around and flail my arms and generally look like a spastic idiot, I would go outside (no I wouldn't, I hate the outdoors). Motion controls are colossal steps backwards - economy of motion and efficiency are what is important when devising a control scheme, so injecting additional layers of abstraction and expanding the required range of motions leaves you with a control scheme that is objectively worse. We don't need motion controls to make better games - if anything, shoehorning in motion controls can only be detrimental - and the Kinect in particular all but precludes any possibility of there being any games that "gamers" will actually care about by virtue of its design.

So at the end of the day, I'm left wondering this: Unless they're buying it for exercise purposes, why the hell would the audience that frequents sites like this one even want a Kinect, let alone want to rearrange their lives to use one?

chrisplante:
BULLDOZE THE HOUSE

[Note: The author and The Escpaist do not endorse the bulldozing of homes.]

But Vanguard does; do as Chris says and bulldoze.

Never planned on getting a kinect. I fI wanted to play horrible minigames with a motion sensor I would have gotten a wii

Pugiron:
What kind of retard crap is this? We do not have to buy Kinect to support Microsoft. Its thir responsibility to make good products, no our responsibility to subsidise crap products from them. then there is no motivation for them to make good products. Extra Credits id NOT claim we HAD to support Kinect. You totally misread that in some sort of socialist retarded way.

I'd watch how you talk to people. Because that's pretty insulting and the mods might take offense - just saying.

No, i didn't misread the message Extra Credits was trying to say. I don't think you understood their point. The point was that whether we're yay or nay for the motion control craze, it's too late now. Time and money has been poured into the project and if it sinks, it will hit the industry bad. That's not good when the industry itself is weak, just look at how second hand games sales, piracy and a myriad of other problems such as controversy (see the November bill) are and will be causing a lot of problems for the industry. If these projects fail to take off, Sony might just go back to making televisions and Microsoft might just stick to computers. Not to the point where video games no longer exist, but it will definitely impact the industry as a whole. What Extra Credits said was that we shouldn't actively fight back against kinect. No, we don't have to like it, but we should welcome the audience that kinect is marketed to, because it's that supposed untapped audience that will keep the industry afloat and develop. The whole idea of the debate on kinect, and arguably this article, is to say "well i understand kinect isn't for me, but i'm not going to grab a torch and pitchfork and kick up a stink about it. I'm going to acknowledge it's a part of my culture now, whether it's for me or not, and not try to boycott / start a revolution / be a hero whenever it's mentioned". Because every time you go "MOTION CONTROL LOLWUT" it scares off a casual or someone else who might have been interested in the product. No-one wants to be part of a community that are full of foul-mouthed offensive 'hardcore, yo' trolls. Video games are meant to bring people together, after all. The idea of being more welcoming and open to kinect isn't about kinect itself. It's about being welcoming and open to the people that it brings with it. The new community.

Hmmm if it's that bad for a New Yorker imagine how bad it must be in Japan... Microsoft has been trying to crack that market for a while now, and again they show that they just don't get it.

The space limitations of the kinect are making it only available to a niche market, yet they are trying to sell it to casual gamers... I think the Kinect would be best suited to an arcade or something, but even then it would have to have special lighting and stuff because most arcades are pretty dark. And most arcades don't even exist anymore.

Maybe it will just take some time, let the devs get used to it first and then see what sort of games start coming out.

A very cute article!

Chris Plante:
One option is to put the furniture on wheels. It works in offices; why shouldn't it work at home?

My first thought was 'because the long-term weight on the wheels and movement will often dent, scrape or otherwise damage your floor - especially hardwood', but you covered that with your suggestion for carpeting and rugs. :D Nice one!

On that note, I am gobsmacked that such a thing is considered the tenant's responsibility in a rental situation.

Chris Plante:
By choosing to live in the greatest city on Earth

I think your confusing NYC with London :P

OT: I can't rearrange my furniture for the required 6-8 feet of space :(
What sucks is that if you have one of those friends who will always preorder, who will always get the special edition, who will always get the stupid motion peripheral...that's me...

And I can't get Kinect! Not that I wanted it in the first place X3

dissappointed in this article. when I read the involement of graph paper and the "don't judge us" clause in the beginning I was certain I was going to read a method of fooling the Kinect system by some use of a graph paper backdrop and hand puppets.

Now THAT I want to see!

Gralian:
If these projects fail to take off, Sony might just go back to making televisions and Microsoft might just stick to computers. Not to the point where video games no longer exist, but it will definitely impact the industry as a whole.

Impact in a rather great way, I'd say!

I mean, what, if there's a demand for games other companies will rise to meet that market, etc. If Sony and Microsoft failed here, I doubt they'll just leave the industry considering the huge investment they've made up to now.

But if they DO leave, who cares? Do you seriously think other companies will say "Hell screw this entire market we could be making millions in now that two of the biggest competitors just bowed out!" Yeah, right.

chrisplante:
BULLDOZE THE HOUSE

[Note: The author and The Escpaist do not endorse the bulldozing of homes.]

I like how this guy signed up only to give this advice.

Gralian:
Lots of well thought out stuff

Yeah, I know. You have a point. But as I pointed out in the comments of the Extra Credits you refer to, I'm not saying the Kinect will fail because I think it's dumb and want it to burn - I'm saying that because, as someone who can analyze the industry in an intelligent manner, I think it won't fly.

And I don't think I have any obligation to support a device that I do not like and that represents something in the industry I don't particularly care for. I will buy games and consoles solely because I think they're a step in the right direction, but I won't do this indiscriminately. If Microsoft fucked up and wasted time and money in a product that has no appeal to me and ends up having no appeal to their non-me demographic either, that's their problem. They should have foreseen it as a company. It's their job, not mine, as a costumer. It's also not my job to save the gaming industry for themselves if they screw up. They should be thinking of ways to help me, not the other way around.

If that means the gaming industry crashes, well, look at the bright side, at least there won't be ten new cover-based brown and grey gritty shooters coming out next year.

"[Note: The author and The Escpaist do not endorse the bulldozing of homes.]"

hah, or so they'd have you think (jk).
ok, i've got like 5 gaming systems, several with attachments and wireless this and that.. and i bet my "house" is smaller than your bedrooms, it's not so difficult, but nonetheless a well-written article =)

I have to agree. That would be wonderful.

My opinion of Urbanite New Yorkers is second only to the French.

Solution:

Step 1 - Bequeath your shitty little matchbox apartment to the rats
Step 2 - Move to a completely different state
Step 3 - Spend slightly less money than you were for your slumbox for a 5 bedroom palatial estate
Step 4 - (a very important step) Avoid telling your new neighbors how great New York was.
Step 5 - Slowly begin to realize that you were previously living in the Worst city on Earth.

I'm surprised that no one thought of using this whole "motion sensing" gimmick to resurrect the good old days of public arcades. Wouldn't it make more sense to do this kind of thing in a specially designed, carefully controlled environment?

Oh yes, I know you don't want to waggle your body and humiliate yourself in a public venue. But last I checked, dance clubs were still popular. :)

I just have a little single apartment, but the way my furniture is set up won't really allow for enough space. I've got a full bed, a futon, the TV, then my computer desk, plus some space for my bike. There really isn't anywhere to move any of it temporarily.

I like motion controls and I own a Wii, but I'm not yet convinced that Kinect will add much to the mix. Essentially, motion controls are just full or partial body replacements for button functions, with the possibility of more accuracy with certain things like aiming or the direction of a sword swipe, etc. Kinect may provide some extra motion recognition, but the games that are possible with it don't seem vastly different. That being said, I kind of hope it succeeds. I'd love it if a new generation of consoles simply incorporated motion just like analog sticks or vibration, just another option for developers when making games. Selling it as a peripheral to the main system singles it out and begs for criticism. It becomes a separate experience, asking us to adopt it when it should just be there without all the fanfare.

I'm not moving my living room around for Kinect.

I don't know why Microsoft thought such a restricition was ok.

tselski:
Hmmm if it's that bad for a New Yorker imagine how bad it must be in Japan...

Japanese people already live with modular furniture. Apartment rooms are often multi-purpose, with tables that fold up and go into a closet, to be replaced with a folding futon. They have a lot of empty space in them because Japanese rooms come built-in with closets for the furniture. And given that the standard size for a Japanese room will work with Kinect, they're BETTER suited, considering all the whining about having to move a coffee table some people are making...

tselski:
The space limitations of the kinect are making it only available to a niche market, yet they are trying to sell it to casual gamers...

What niche market? People with houses? The people who own houses usually have families. Families are full of casual gamers. Hence, Kinect is perfect for the average casual gamer. I'd be willing to bet there are far more 'core' gamers (eg single males in their 20s) living in shoebox apartments than there are families with lots of disposable income and kids who want the newest toy (aka half of the Wii's playerbase).

A quick googling shows that almost 70% of the USA lives in houses. Hardly a "niche".

Mr Waffle:

tselski:
Hmmm if it's that bad for a New Yorker imagine how bad it must be in Japan...

Japanese people already live with modular furniture. Apartment rooms are often multi-purpose, with tables that fold up and go into a closet, to be replaced with a folding futon. They have a lot of empty space in them because Japanese rooms come built-in with closets for the furniture. And given that the standard size for a Japanese room will work with Kinect, they're BETTER suited, considering all the whining about having to move a coffee table some people are making...

tselski:
The space limitations of the kinect are making it only available to a niche market, yet they are trying to sell it to casual gamers...

What niche market? People with houses? The people who own houses usually have families. Families are full of casual gamers. Hence, Kinect is perfect for the average casual gamer. I'd be willing to bet there are far more 'core' gamers (eg single males in their 20s) living in shoebox apartments than there are families with lots of disposable income and kids who want the newest toy (aka half of the Wii's playerbase).

A quick googling shows that almost 70% of the USA lives in houses. Hardly a "niche".

Well maybe niche wasn't quite the proper word, but they're definitely limiting their market. I know for me to get Kinect to work I'd have to have my T.V. in my closet and put my computer desk on my bed. In my current living situation even if I wanted a kinect I'd be unable to buy one and use it properly, and there are plenty of people in similar situations, so to me it seems like they're losing sales, and not because of lack of interest but because of the way they designed it.

Amazes me that people will live in places like that. I'm lived in cramped placed and I just won't do it anymore. I live in the small Aussie state of Tasmania and I love it. I own a three bedroom house which I have to myself, I'm a 5 minute drive from the CBD and I don't really find any major city has anything I care about.. and if I do? These days you can fly to Melbourne for under a $100 return! Most of the time though, if I can't buy it local I just buy it online and it shows up a few days later.

Granted our internet speeds could do with some work, bring on the NBN (which I'll have in the next 12-18 months). But after living in Sydney and Perth during my life I can absolutely say that big cities with cramped real estate are just not worth it.

With two roommates that supposedly pay rent, and a pet that does less than nothing useful, I'd have to invest into a lot more than just the add on to be able to play it. In order to get the 6 to 8 feet needed, I'd have to get a TV set that's large enough for me to be able to see it at 8 feet away.

I also don't know if I'll be moving out of state next year, and where I may have to be moving, or what the living conditions are for where I'll be living, or anything like that. It just seems to me to be too much of a hassle to try to change my life this much for something that might or might not be any good at all.

ObsessiveSketch:
This sounds like entirely too much work for a new, unproven periphery. I say it dies a slow and drawn out death. The Wii did motion sensing first, it did it cheaper, and it did it a hell of a lot more conveniently than Kinect's shenanigans. Perfect lighting? 8 square feet? rearrange the room? To put it quite plainly, fuck that. I'd rather hit one button and flop down on the couch with a Wiimote than jump through all the hoops.

First of all, you do not need perfect lighting. I've played it with nothing more than the glow from my LCD. Sure its not perfect, but it works. Second, you do not need 8 square feet to play. I've played it in an area that was literally 4 square feet, granted I was about 7 feet away from the sensor.

Also, the Wii is not much cheaper:

    Xbox 360 + Kinect + Kinect Sports = $300
    Wii system (Including Wii Sports and 1 controller) = $200
    +
    Nunchuk = $20
    +
    Wiimote + another Nunchuck = $60
    =
    $280

Kinect works with 2 players at the same time. To achieve similar functionality with the Wii, you would need the additional Wiimote and 2 Nunchuks. This price however does not include the cost of buying the Motion Plus addon which would cost an additional $40 each That brings the grand total of the Wii to $360.

And before you start crying foul about how I know that stuff about Kinect; I'm a Kinect beta tester. If you don't believe me, look here. That is my gamerprofile. You'll notice a game in my games played list that is a shadow of an Xbox 360 with the title "???". That is one of the games we were given to test.

EDIT: I realized this makes me sound a bit like a dick. I'm not trying to attack you or what you think of Kinect, I'm just trying to inform you. There is a lot of misinformation and opinions based on very limited amounts of information.

Honestly, having to do that much work to play a damn game is ridiculous. I guess I'll be passing on Kinect until at least the summer when I'm out of my dorm room.

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