One of the most highly-anticipated pieces of consumer technology in recent years, the revolutionary Kinect for Xbox 360, goes on sale in South Africa this week – bringing with it an era of controller-free gaming and entertainment.
Kinect and the long-awaited Xbox LIVE service were launched in Sandton last night to more than 200 media, customers, evangelists and fanatics. Both products will be available locally from 10 November.
Unlike any other consumer technology available today, Kinect lets people use their bodies play games and access entertainment, literally turning the user into the controller. It locks onto people and follows their motions. Players activate it with a wave of a hand, navigate menus by moving their arms and then run, jump, lunge, lean and dance to direct their on-screen avatars.
“For us, this is a really big deal,” said Yvette van Rooyen, product manager for Xbox in South Africa. “Kinect literally transforms entertainment and introduces the Xbox 360 console to millions of new people — families, friends and people of all ages. There’s nothing like it on the market.”
Launching along with Kinect in South Africa is Xbox Live, an online service which allows Xbox users to play online against people around the world and get access to premium content and services.
Deemed a “breakthrough innovation” by Popular Mechanics, the “best of what’s new” by Popular Science and awarded the US National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Award, Kinect for Xbox 360 promises to usher in a new era of entertainment.
Kinect removes the “wands, gadgets, and gizmos” that sometimes act as a barrier, making Xbox games and entertainment more approachable, social and interactive so everyone can enjoy them, said Van Rooyen.
“Once it meets you, Kinect recognises you. With just a wave of the hand, Kinect comes to life, bringing games, movies, TV, music, exercise, dancing and sports to your fingertips,” she said.
5 games will be launching with Kinect – Kinectimals, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, Kinect Joyride and Dance Central. In addition, there will be 10 3rd Party publisher titles in line with the launch too. These include : Your Shape, EA Active 2, Zumba Fitness, DanceMasters, Adrenalin Misfits, Motion Sports, Sonic Free Riders and on the 19th November we will see the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 as a Kinect ready release.
Kinect for Xbox 360 is great value for the whole family. The all-in-one Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect includes the new Xbox 360 4GB console, Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures,” priced at R3699. For those who have an Xbox 360 console already, the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor is priced at R1999, and includes the Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures”.
Sharing the limelight with Kinect at the launch was Xbox LIVE. Speaking at the launch event, Robin Burrowes, Xbox LIVE product manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa, said Xbox LIVE is about “building communities and connecting people to each other and to great content”.
With an Xbox 360 and broadband internet connection, users can now connect and join LIVE for free to access their personal profiles with Gamerscore, Gamertag, Avatar; access the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace; and access free game demos. An upgrade to Xbox LIVE Gold membership allows users to play games with their friends online, including great new Kinect titles, or video chat with Video Kinect. It also allows users to receive early access to content and exclusive Gold discounts.
An Xbox LIVE Gold 12-month membership will be available for R599. A 3-month membership will cost R199, with numerous launch specials available.
“This is an exciting step forward in the experience we can give our loyal and committed Xbox communities,” said Burrowes. “Xbox fans in South Africa will now be able play the best games in the industry with the 25 million other Xbox LIVE users across the world who have made this their online gaming destination of choice.”