Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zoom for Kinect: Does It Work?

I received Nyko's Zoom today, a sleek looking plastic attachment for the Kinect camera that promises its user 40% less space needed to accommodate motion gaming on the X-Box 360. The thought of Kinect gaming without having to move your furniture, reorganize your gaming space, nor buy yourself a new house is of course quite exciting for those who have been unfortunate enough to deal with the camera's demanding spatial requirement and Nyko seemed to have found a gold mine with the attachment... that is if it actually works. If you are one of those individuals who have been looking forward to the Zoom as your Kinect's space solution, well, I am sad to report that it actually doesn't work all that well.

Zoom? It's more like Doom!

Note that the Zoom will not be functional at all if you have the Kinect sitting on top of your display. The Kinect got all crazy at this setup as it kept tilting all the way up towards the ceiling as if it got dizzy by the zoomed out view provided by the attachment. Placing the Kinect below the display provided me with a much more favorable result and I could see the small hint of awesomeness when the Kinect could actually view my entire body at just 3-4 feet away from it. Then, I noticed that the video feed of my body had a lot of noises on it. I checked the three lenses on the Zoom and noticed that they were all crystal clear. I even wiped them off with a lint free cloth just to make sure but it didn't help the situation whatsoever. The worst part about this is the fact that the Zoom is good at detecting exaggerated full body motion but it is just horrible when it comes to following more nuanced movement. So even though it worked okay - not perfectly - with Kinect Adventures!, the Zoom was unable to keep up with my hand movement in Child of Eden. I tried removing the Zoom to see if perhaps my current lighting condition could have caused the problem and found that without the attachment, the game suddenly played perfectly. I have tried all the troubleshooting guide provided on the manual and the official website but I was not able to improve the performance of the Zoom-bified Kinect.

When the Zoom was first announced, Microsoft warned Kinect users that the camera had been created with a certain specificity in regards to distance, that altering the visual input will impact its performance. Well, Microsoft was right. Zooming out the video feed of the camera has sacrificed its ability to precisely follow your movements. The Zoom ended up being nothing more than wishful thinking... A solution that is more fantastical than it is logical. Since Microsoft was against the Zoom in the first place, don't expect any future patches that will allow the Kinect to be more welcoming to the Zoom's expanded visual field. If you really want to play the Kinect the way that it was meant to be played, you will have to move the furniture, reorganize your gaming space, or buy yourself that brand new house as Microsoft dictates.

RATING: 1 out of 5


Anonymous said...

Thank you Loner, it is exactly what i want to know!

Raptor said...

Thanks for the review! Based on others, many people seem to be having the same problem.

This kind of sucks because prior to getting a Kinect, I didn't realize it had such a big space requirement. In my house that means I can't play in any of the bedrooms, just in the living room, and due to the setup of that, it requires moving all of the furniture.

I was really hoping *someone* would have found the Zoom helpful but I guess not, :(.