Xbox Kinect launches, strong holiday sales expected

By Mike Fischer on November 4, 2010, 4:48 PM
Last night saw the midnight release of Microsoft's Kinect, the Xbox 360's much-advertised motion-sensing peripheral. Fans lined up days in advance at some locations, with a flagship launch event held in Times Square. Offering a "controller-free gaming experience," the sensor unit utilizes motion capture as well as facial and voice recognition to provide hands-free control of the Xbox. A standalone unit retails for $149.99 or comes bundled with a console for $299.99, and initial preorders and sales predict strong numbers for the holiday season. Microsoft expects to sell five million Kinect units before the year's end, as well as potential sellouts come Christmas.


One issue could mar the success of the launch, though. According to a story at Gamespot, several employees with dark skin tones had trouble being scanned by the facial recognition software. This feature is designed to detect a player simply by entering the Kinect's field of view, eliminating the need for choosing a player profile before starting a game. "The system recognized one employee inconsistently, while it was never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts," the article reports.

Although this issue may steal the spotlight away from the launch, it is not uncommon in webcams to have facial detection issues. Especially when using low-resolution cameras, dark skin tones can be harder to detect and track, something that has troubled other webcam makers in the past. Microsoft is asking for anyone experiencing a problem to contact them via email and stresses that the system is designed to work with people of all shapes and ethnicities.




User Comments: 51

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KG363 KG363 said:

I think this is hilarious

Guest said:

Of course gamestop employees had a hard time using it, they were probably in the back not well lit room trying it out between sessions of WoW and jacking off.

Guest said:

Haha, the first racist game controller

Kel

sMILEY4ever said:

OOO

Racist hardware. If I were "dark skin toned" I'd sue M$.

mccartercar said:

It's not the first product that has trouble with different races.

Some digital cameras detect asians as having their eyes closed.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL...that is hilarious! How long before the NAACP launches a discrimination lawsuit?

Nevertheless, I'm sure they'll sell plenty of these. And six months from now they'll all be collecting dust. Just another novelty to drum up holiday sales. :p

blimp01 said:

pretty great price, i would be expecting like $300. thisll un-fatten people! LOL

Guest said:

Is this ever going to PC platform.??

Acespaces Acespaces said:

This might be what makes Microsoft stand out and stay above everyone else in the gaming crowd. Plus this would be such a tight thing to just have in your room and say "Xbox TURN ON RIGHT NOW!!!" and the tah dah it turns on.

RealXboxMaster said:

Guest said:

Haha, the first racist game controller

Kel

LMFAO...LOL

RealXboxMaster said:

Guest said:

Haha, the first racist game controller

Kel

LMFAO...LOL

Recipe7 Recipe7 said:

300 for the kinect and the system is a great price. What is a Wii again? =p

treeski treeski said:

I'm excited to give it a try... I know at least one friend that will buy a kinect.

miska_man said:

blimp01 said:

pretty great price, i would be expecting like $300. thisll un-fatten people! LOL

You do realize that this is a console accessory and not a whole console right? $300 is midrange console pricing and even $150 I believe is too high for an accessory. All I can say is price is a major factor in me not buying this.

Besides, I'd need to be a "new" 360 to run it. Honestly, the only way you'd really find me buying the Kinect is if I was in the market for a new 360 for some reason AND the price was $50 lower ($50 bundled and $100 sold separately). Also, most of the games look questionable. I'm hoping the Kinect doesn't let Microsoft shy away from the hardcore gamers (which I'm doubting will happen, but there's always that chance).

Richy2k9 said:

hello ....

beware PC gamers, this is coming to the PC too :P

i'd rather go for surface, i love to 'touch'

cheers!

hassaan said:

As much fun as Kinect potentially brings to gaming, it could also be seen as a harbinger of the way we'll interact (yes, connect) with computers in the future.

7410xas said:

like wii, it's ahead of its time. sales cannot be met with weak game development in this quarter. everyone know this holiday belongs to the smartphones and tablets

aalsheh said:

not holding my breath for one anytime soon.... just gonna wait till a price drop or good games to come out, that if ever

bioflex said:

Guest said:

Is this ever going to PC platform.??

thats exactly what i am thinking now....seeing how the xbox 360 controller made its way to pc, i wouldnt be suprised if we get this on pc sooner or later.

and about the device not being able to detect some dark skinned people, well what can i say.....it might be something that could be worked on but i suggest mocrisoft work real hard and fast to resolve this issues before it gets out of hand........all the same great piece of hardware the kinect is.

TeamworkGuy2 said:

That could be such a problem for M$ if Kinect did in fact have trouble detecting more darkly skinned people.

Would be cool to see this on PC, but I know all the monitors I my house are to small to stand up and walk away from and still see what is happening on the screen.

co1rpal1 said:

I still think the product is exciting and am interested in getting one. Now at $150 I can wait until my next xbox upgrade or the price to go down. Besides with the facial recognition problem, a download firmware update will most likely be coming up that will fix the problem.

Xero07 said:

Too expensive in my opinion but who knows people buy into stuff like this all the time

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

rofl a raciest game controller. thats great.

This isn't the first camera I have seen to have trouble with darker skinned people. I belive there was a web cam on a series of HP or Dell laptops - and the software was supposed to track the persons face in the field of view. It didn't work on darker skinned people at all. Saw a video with a white woman and a black guy. Would follow the white woman just fine, but the moment she stepped out of the way and the black guy came into the field of view the web cam snapped back to the center, and lots its focus some.

But I you know the Kinect games like Mortal Kombat can now be marketed as an aerobic workout :P.

mikeusru said:

bioflex said:

Guest said:

Is this ever going to PC platform.??

thats exactly what i am thinking now....seeing how the xbox 360 controller made its way to pc, i wouldnt be suprised if we get this on pc sooner or later.

It's very unlikely that the kinect will ever make it's way to the PC. Xbox games are fairly easy to port to the PC, and having a controller work with the computer isn't necessarily going to make them lose business, since PCs already have other gamepads available. There is no real motion tracking for the computer though, and the Kinect is specifically designed to be used in a large room with a lot of space - not the way most computer setups are. Even if you could set up the thing for a PC, no one would ever make games for it.

By the way, i have to say I don't even own an xbox right now (it's at my gf's place) and I have no room to set something like this up, but I am super excited for when I do -

[link]

taea00 said:

Kinect has so much potential, but I think this is just Microsoft being Microsoft and over the next few months we'll learn it's no where near what Microsoft is proclaiming it to be. It also brings up questions for numerous games. Such as FPS games, how are you able to shoot? They need to get some software that has accessories with it and it'll detect the accessories, or combine the controller with the Kinect to be able to use the buttons on the controller.

Afenix said:

150$ is too much for me. Well it's better than compared to the EU price which is about 130 pounds!

I live in a second economical range country, and that's just too much. I'll wait till it goes down to 100$ maybe.

n00bzZy said:

Guest said:

Is this ever going to PC platform.??

Why would you want such crap on PC? Keep the PC for real games and gamers, not this crap. Move Facebook games to Kinect too.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

n00bzzy said:

Why would you want such crap on PC? Keep the PC for real games and gamers, not this crap. Move Facebook games to Kinect too.

This.

Ah, it's great when people just say the things I would say.

omega00 said:

I'm wondering if the issue with poor facial detection due to darker skin tones could be rectified with better lighting during game play. One solution to this problem would be to attach detection points on a poorly detected persons face and body. However, such a solution would take away from Kinect's fun factor and ease of use. Plus, such a solution would not be accepted favorably in social terms.

Upon1 said:

Is anyone actually going to buy the Kinect? I think they're too late to enter the "wireless motion" market. The Wii has been out for years, and while the Kinect is an improved version, I think Microsoft has missed their mark, same with Sony.

thedrelle said:

There is a great deal of potential with the kinect, but i am going to wait and see what kind of software comes out before i consider buying it.

b44g6 said:

I think its gonna make a buz for while then everybody will prefer a controller, people are lazy, they prefer moving fingers than there whole body to a play game, (how cool is it if it comes with a hologram controller!), the only good part is that the interface control will be a lot fun and easy,

fwilliams said:

make sure you buy one right away

do not wait for games to be written or for real reviews to come out

Microsoft needs your money now more then ever

Johny47 said:

I think Kinect won't sell very well because of the crappy Wii looking games that are out up until and around Christmas, the only good fun looking one is Dance Central and that's just my opinion.

It's a shame because the technology is very good but unless Microsoft developed something revolutionary from 'the ground up' for Kinect then it's just going to fail.

Demons said:

I've learned my lesson from being an early adapter before. I think I will wait until they work out some of the bugs, prices drop, and there are a few more games available. It does look like an exciting product though. I imagine that I will eventually get one.

momir said:

I'll wait for my brother to buy a LED tv,Kinect will have more sense then since i'm playing on a 22" LCD monitor,but i'm looking forward to acquiring it very soon...

Nirkon said:

Isn't Microsoft supposed to test their products before the ship them out? Don't they

have any black developers?....

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'll wait it out and see what Microsoft has planned down the road. It's pretty obvious that this launch was geared towards the more casual friendly with family games and not core gamers like most of us. What peaked my interest though was the discussion of hybrid games (Kinect + Controller), which if done right could be amazing. [LINK]

On top of that one the greatest things with Kinect is what it could accomplish outside of gaming. Kinect clearly has a lot of potential and I don't see why Microsoft won't exploit it and bring this product beyond gaming.

Regarding the "racist" Kinect issue, it has already been debunked over at Consumers Report. They attribute the issue to low-level lighting which is pretty much identical to the racist HP laptops that the media discovered last year. [LINK]

gobbybobby said:

I have always said this is gonna fail. Maybe I am wrong. I can't see ''hardcore'' Gamers using this,

Guru1294 said:

Wow, the Dark skin issue better be fixed or im gonna be in a big debate whether i should get it or not!!

still i like where Microsoft is going with this and although they did copy nintendo, a little, they still made it pretty well. Although im not so sure whether they'd be able to sell 5 million units

spyx said:

Not surprising at all kinect seems awesome I guess there isnt really a reason for not getting it unless u already have a wii or u dont wanna pay alot of money (150) if u have an xbox or 399-499 without....

Guest said:

*Microsoft Employee*

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

guru1294 said:

Wow, the Dark skin issue better be fixed or im gonna be in a big debate whether i should get it or not!!

Check out my link, the issue is with lighting over all. And not being recognized doesn't impair your ability to play from my understanding just your recognition in regards to your Avatar.

Guest said:

Just whack on some shoe polish on your face and then you can sue MS

treetops treetops said:

You can use this on any xbox 360 from what I read. I will be buying one on black friday, this is the main reason I bought a xbox off ebay a few months back . To all you dark skinnies clown make up ftw?

treetops treetops said:

Btw it only mentions it having an issue with face recognition, thats probably just for logging on, you can do that with a controller, I doubt you will use your face in game lol. Maybe bewitched the game or something.

UT66 said:

strong sales expected? lol, they better wait seated!

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@gobbybobby, it's entirely possible that hardcore gamers aren't going to use it, but then again, hardcore gamers aren't that enthusiastic about the Wii, and it sold much better than the other consoles. I bet Microsoft is counting on the same effect. Let's fact it, hardcore gamers are a minority. Not on the 360 (or PS3) currently, but they could become so even there.

I think that Kinect can be useful for certain types of games, i.e., those where full body motion is natural. Dance games are an obvious example. Can't see it taking over hardcore games, though.

kevin1212 said:

I think its pathetic what sony and microsoft are doing... some of those games are identical to those on the wii, they're by no means new or unique. I'll accept the new ideas but i'm not seeing a lot of those.

Guest said:

naah. Kinect is new technology. Not accelerometers. MS has jumped the gun on this one though. I do face detection and gesture recog for a living and there are no 100% solutions out there in academia yet, so MS is just hoping that people will follow their guidelines to set kinect up and not complain too much. That said, MS is trying to use their E3 approach here, 'embrace, engage, exterminate' or something like that. They want to be remembered as the folks who first brought gesture recog to the market and hope that this pays off when the big-bucks apps arrive on the scene for gesture recog. E.g. for enterprise users (imagine not having keyboards) or for business presentations (not having to click through). Still, that's about 10 years away. MS has to wait for a whole new generation to come in before they can expect the new kids to adapt to the new tech. The current generation is still fixated on social networking. Imagine, MS and facebook together, 'schedule an event w/ all your friends to play volleyball in Antarctica (rendered environment) using kinect-enabled web technologies'. DAT's where the money's at me-homies.

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