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Does not Kinect

Much has been made of the possibilities of using Microsoft’s Kinect with Second Life. There are a lot of Kinects out there. They sold really well to people wanting to try them, and then sales suddenly fell sharply, to the point that they’re hardly selling at all.

Nevertheless, Second Life might be just the sort of thing to give the Kinect a shot in the arm, if you’ve got one laying around and appropriate software gets developed, right?

Well, let’s try a couple of little experiments, and we’ll see what you think afterwards.

First, let’s pretend that you’ve got Second Life loaded up, and it is rigged to work with Kinect, and you’ve got a Kinect hooked up on your desk in front of your monitor right now. It’ll need to be right up at the edge of your desk to get a good clear look at you.


Now… take a couple steps back. No, further. You’ll need to move the chair. You need to go back six or eight feet. A little further if you’re tall. Otherwise it won’t be able to see all of you.

Okay. Now… how’s your view?

Oh, wait. Sorry…


How is your view now?


Okay, come on back.

Okay. You see the problem? Building, accessing your inventory…. even seeing your own avatar (let alone anyone else’s) – you just can’t see anything that isn’t huge. Even if you have a reasonably sizeable monitor on your desk.

Do you use a headset for voice? Does it reach that far? Better have a lot of slack in the cables, because the cable itself can confuse the sensors.

And that’s assuming you’ve got enough free space from where your computer is to actually stand without backing up against a wall or a bookcase or another piece of furniture.

Now, for the second experiment.

About how long do you use Second Life in one session, on average? Work that out. Now, stand up. About every minute or two, use your arms to do the Y-M-C-A thing that the Village People used to do. Remember you can’t walk around, but you’re going to have to stay in the same relatively small circle the whole time. Put on Skype or something and chat to a friend while you’re doing this, to help keep you from getting bored.

How long before you get completely sick of this, or at the very least wish you could sit back down and reach for your mouse and keyboard instead? I’d give it half an hour, if you’re convinced that the Kinect is the most awesome thing to happen to Second Life ever. Forty-five minutes, tops. Most of you won’t last ten.

If you manage to stick it out for a while, you’ll wind up with Gorilla Arm anyway.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but for 99 out of 100 of us, I don’t think the Kinect and Second Life are going to work well together. And now you know why I think so.

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