Lag and Conclusions

So what about lag on Kinect? It’s definitely there, but it isn’t nearly as big of a problem as it’s been chalked up to be. I decided to test how much that lag is by taking an extremely self-deprecating video of myself flailing my arms about in front of Kinect, and inspect the video to see how much delay there is between me sweeping my arm up, and the TV reflecting that change. I just used the Kinect tuner since it’s full screen and does body tracking, and later counted how many frames it took after my hand reached the top of an arc for the image to also reflect the change. 

At the end of the day, I measured between 8-10 frames of input lag, which at 29.96 FPS works out to 267 ms of input lag. Of course, that number also includes my Onkyo TX-SR608 A/V receiver, which (even in game mode) adds a substantial and perceptible amount of latency to the whole display chain. For the caliber of games currently rolled out which support Kinect, lag honestly isn’t that big of a deal. I found it definitely noticeable in the Kinect Adventures obstacle course, and somewhat noticeable when playing Kinect Sports and running hurdles, but everywhere else, while noticeable, it isn’t a game-killer. Don’t get me wrong, 267 ms is seriously laggy, but right now it doesn’t matter too much. Maybe when we get FPS titles that’ll change. 

I think it’s fair to say that Kinect thoroughly rains on the Wii’s parade, and enjoys a substantial lead over Sony Move if nothing else entirely due to lower out-the-door cost. One of the best parts of Kinect is that you really do only need the sensor to play games - there’s no sets of controllers, camera, or kit to purchase. If you've got a room that's large enough, Kinect is perfect. On the other hand, there's no possible way that Kinect would ever work in the average dorm room - you really do need 9' - 12' behind the TV to play with two people.

 

The rest of what Kinect does is really just mitigate a lot of the motion-cheating I felt was possible with the Wii, some of which is still possible with Move by holding the wand close to the sensor. Adding real depth detection and forcing players to actually move around has done a lot more to make me move instead of wrist-flick than any of the other motion-augmented console addons did.

Does Kinect breathe enough life into the Xbox 360 to make it last another few years? I suppose, but only for as long as Kinect titles can deliver new and more interesting gestures, immersion, and interaction events. For now, however, I’m having enough fun motion trash-talking people in Kinect Sports to keep me entertained for at least until the next major console blockbuster title.

Kinectimals and Kinect Joy Ride
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  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    The fan is pretty tiny so you probably wouldn't hear it over your TV and 360 anyways, but I'm curious if its audible? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    It's definitely not audible. I tried forever to detect airflow, much less it being on, and couldn't ever hear anything. It's possible I wasn't getting Kinect warm enough, but I did try on two pretty toasty LCDs and an even warmer plasma. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • mentatstrategy - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I read that it doesn't pick up dark skinned folks very well.. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    AFAIK dark skinned people's infrared signatures are no different from light skinned. If it used a standard camera for detection I would believe you as that's happened to laptops, but in this case the camera is just for video and the infrared sensor does all the detecting. Reply
  • racerx_is_alive - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    rarson is right that it's just the facial recognition, and even that problem goes away if you have enough lights on, I thought. Reply
  • Mumrik - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I was hoping for an article primarily about the hardware and its possibilities on the PC. I know there's a lot of homebrewing going on and I'm honestly more fascinated by what this might do on PC than what it'll be used for in its natural environment on the 360.
    This all seems well written and so on, but I doubt many of us come here for the console coverage (though I do know that there tends to be hardware coverage at the point of launch).
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Interesting, thanks. I doubt the chips inside it need cooling, its probably for the Infrared sensor as that is sensitive to temperature. Maybe it only turns on if the ambient temperature is very high to start with, and Microsoft just decided to take no chances after that huge hoopla with the RRODs. Reply
  • Noriaki - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Bottom of page 1: "new Xbox 350 S console" Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Microsoft actually refers to the new Xbox as the Xbox 360 S in a few places, and I was being very pedantic in that sentence about which console I was referring to (Xbox 360 Pro versus S), so I used that nomenclature. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    ... with the latest dashboard update that brought UI changes and Kinect support (seriously)"

    And yet you did not plaster the word "FAIL" in big bold letters across the top of every page in this review. Oh it's a great product. It really rains on thw Wii's parade. And it only costs $150 + $300 for a new consoel because the old one is a piece of junk. That's cool though, perfectly normal. Is there no limit to the gullibility and/or stupidity? Does anyone have half a brain not to be so willing to be scammed? Every Xbox I ever see happens to be sitting on top of a dead one. What kind of stupid dumbed down abject morons are you people who feel the need to waste your money on such scams?
    Reply

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