From the MVPs: How Kinect changed my living room

Here’s the 11th post in our series of guest posts by Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs). Since the early 1990s, Microsoft has recognized technology champions around the world with the MVP Award. MVPs freely share their deep knowledge, real-world experience, and impartial and objective feedback to help people enhance the way they use technology. Of more than 100 million users who participate in technology communities, around 4,000 are recognized as Microsoft MVPs.

This post is by Daylon Furlough, who is an Xbox MVP. He can be found blogging on and on Twitter as Deaconblade.

“Big things come from small beginnings.” That’s what I heard from a certain cyborg while on board a huge futuristic ship in one of this year’s blockbuster movies. I reference it because Kinect is a very small sensor, yet it has managed to create some truly big things for me and my family. Before Kinect, I enjoyed quite a few movies and play an assortment of games in my living room. Looking back on my entertainment before Kinect, I didn’t have the feeling that there was anything missing. Watching movies and playing games was a ton of fun. My living room had its purpose, and that was sufficient enough.

On November 4, 2010, that all changed. After Kinect launched, what I thought I knew about fun and entertainment went straight out of the door. What I thought was my living room’s purpose was totally rewritten. After Kinect my living room quite literally came alive with an endless number of possibilities.

I’ll admit that I had my doubts about whether I’d even enjoy turning my body into a controller. During Microsoft’s introduction of Kinect, I didn’t see any way that a normal person like me would enjoy flapping my arms around in front of the TV. I honestly thought the idea was silly as I’m sure many people did. Microsoft encouraged me and every other consumer to at least try Kinect before we brought out our jump-to-conclusions mat.

I love new technology and trying new things, so I was set on trying Kinect shortly after its launch. When I got home with it and connected the Kinect sensor, everything changed. I got scanned and began my journey to bring a new level of entertainment to my living room.

After Kinect, I’ve enjoyed crazy dance parties with Dance Central. Have I slept on the couch of my own free will sometimes after tiring myself out on The Humpty Dance and Dance Central 2? Yes, I have. I’ve proven who the dominant athlete is in the family with repeated battles in Kinect Sports. I’ve even gone underwater to show who the king is at plugging leaks. I never thought I’d prefer watching sports on my console as opposed to watching it on my cable channel. ESPN and UFC on Kinect have changed the way I want my sports!

My mother even comes over every Wednesday to engage in some calorie burning with Your Shape Fitness. Yes, I’ve tried convincing her to get her own Kinect, but she says she’s already “calibrated” with mine. She says as soon as she can gather up the money to get the white one that comes with the Star Wars bundle, she will. She thinks it looks awesome.

Kinect has definitely reshaped the way I see entertainment. I’ve become so attached to its voice controls that I walk into the kitchen sometimes and scream “Xbox, Open Fridge.” I’ll be upstairs where the “regular” DVD/TV is setup and think to myself how wrong it is not to be able to interact with the movie the way that Kinect allows me to in the living room.

I’m hoping to have an Xbox 360 with Kinect in each room someday so that my experience doesn’t end when I leave my living room. If you’re reading this and you’ve been looking at ways to enhance your living room, bedroom, den, etc., then just add a little Kinect to them. Once you go Kinect, you’ll never go back.

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