A simple clip-on attachment lets gamers get in on the Kinect fun even if they don’t have a lot of extra square footage to play in.
Microsoft’s Kinect breathed new life into Xbox 360 sales when it was introduced in November of 2010. The Kinect quickly became one of the hottest selling gadgets around, and it enabled studios to develop scores of motion-controlled games — like the recently-released marionette-cowboy mash-up The Gunstringer.
But the Kinect does have one drawback that might have given you grief. Its sensors are deisgned for use in wide-open spaces like living rooms and dens. In closer quarters like a dorm room or bedroom, its motion tracking abilities can take a serious performance hit.
That’s where the Nyko Zoom comes in. It’s a small, clip-on accessory that fits over your Kinect sensor. Line it up with the Kinect’s lenses, snap it into place, and you’re ready to punch, kick, and swipe your way to victory (or to flip through your Netflix options).
The Zoom reduces distance requirements by as much as 40%. With most Kinect-enabled games recommending a range of six to ten feet, the Zoom lets you scoot up to as close as three and a half feet. You won’t be sacrificing performance, either. The Zoom is a dead-simple piece of hardware that uses wide-angle lenses. Nyko assures that it doesn’t affect the accuracy of the Kinect, and it won’t create bothersome control lag either.
Earlier this summer (when Nyko first announced the Zoom) Microsoft issued an official statement reminding Xbox gamers that the Kinect had been engineered and tested for optimal performance. Any kind of modification could have a negative impact, they said. Reviewers, however, have almost universally agreed with Nyko — saying the Zoom-Kinect combo at close range performed every bit as well as the Kinect sensor did on its own at recommended distances. Engadget even went so far as to say that the Zoom is “flawless.”
There is one downside to using the Zoom: it only supports two players. That’s probably not going to cause you any problems, since it’s hard to imagine trying to pull off a four-person dance-off in a room small enough that you’d actually need the Zoom anyway.
If your Kinect gaming is confined to a small area, the Zoom is a must-have. Nyko hasn’t posted a list of Canadian retailers where you’ll be able to buy it just yet, but you can find their other accessories just about everywhere the Xbox 360 is sold — including Best Buy, Future Shop, GameStop, and Amazon.ca. The Zoom should hit Canadian retail shelves at around $30.