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Video Review: Microsoft goes controller-free with XBOX 360 Kinect

Microsoft's new Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 is seen on a shelf at the Best Buy store.

Video games just aren't what they used to be. Game systems are wireless, 3D, and now -- controller-free.

Microsoft is hoping that this year's hot holiday toy will be the Microsoft Kinect -- the motion gaming system that accompanies the XBOX 360. Marketplace Morning Report host Steve Chiotakis got to play with the Kinect in the Marketplace offices.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: I remember many Christmases ago, when Santa Claus delivered Pong to our house. Oh, the thrill of electronic tennis! Today, video games are eons more advanced. A few days ago, right here at Marketplace, I had the opportunity to play with an XBOX 360 game add-on called Kinect -- spelled with a K. It uses sensors which lets gamers kick, slam, shake and dance to anything.

And Dan Hsu from Bitmob.com had the, um, fortune to help me out.

DAN HSU: I blame it on Ninentdo. Because they came up with the idea for the Wii. What happened was they discovered that there's this entirely new audience, more casual gamers -- whether they are soccer moms or grandmas, whatever -- they are playing games now they didn't used to. So Nintendo started making boat loads of money off of this. Of course Sony and Microsoft said well, we want a piece of that. So the Kinect is Microsoft's answer to that.

CHIOTAKIS: We should play a game.

HSU: OK.

CHIOTAKIS: Alright.

HSU: I think your staff wants to watch you play, Dance Central.

CHIOTAKIS: Aw, no they don't.

HSU: So, pick dance central.

CHIOTAKIS: Alright, we'll do Lady Gaga. That's fine.

HSU: OK. You're just going to mimic the dancer on screen. So now move your hands. There you go, very nice.

HSU: You almost got 100,000 points, good job!

CHIOTAKIS: Really? What's the two stars for?

HSU: You want to get four to five stars.

CHIOTAKIS: This seems like it would be prohibitively expensive.

HSU: You're talking about maybe $300 for the XBOX 360, $150 for the Kinect. You could buy three Wiis for that amount. Of course the graphics are much nicer. It's a much more powerful machine and it does a lot more than a Wii, but you're paying for it. I don't know if I would say it's a hot holiday item. if you have an XBOX 360, a lot of family members especially younger members of the family, then definitely. Because it's a lot of fun, there's a lot of games you could play that's very very family friendly.

CHIOTAKIS: These motion games have been around for a long time. I mean, aren't people getting kind of tired of doing the thing inside in front of the television?

HSU: That's up to the developers, right, to come up with something creative and something new. And what you have with the Kinect, the difference there is you don't have actual controllers. The other difference too is as you saw, it has voice recognition, so you could imagine a time where instead of using a traditional menu system and a dialogue system, you actually talk to the person on screen, it recognizes what you're saying.

CHIOTAKIS: Dan Hsu from BitMob, thanks.

HSU: Thank you.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.
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Hi, Dan Hsu here. I just want to clarify that you technically can buy a Kinect + Xbox 360 bundle for $300, but that's the 4GB model of the console, and that amount of memory won't last you very long. I would recommend upgrading and getting the larger-capacity hard drive. Budget $450 for the ideal setup.

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