Once in the Kinect Hub, users can access whatever they see by simply using their hand as they would a computer mouse, or by speaking the word "Xbox" and naming the feature they want to select. Although the offerings are somewhat thin at launch, Microsoft hopes to expand the Hub to include more dashboard features in the future.
But though the Kinect is accessible, reasonably priced and packed with oodles of high-tech features, it still is not without its flaws. One potentially major hurdle for consumers could be that Kinect requires a good amount of space to play or, more accurately, to play well.
Games like Kinect Adventures are very active and players will need the room to move from side to side, jump up and down and wave their arms. When playing with a second player, this becomes even more evident.
While the technology is relatively accurate, it's not perfect and players will need to adjust to how a game reads their gestures. It's not a steep learning curve, at least not among the launch titles we were provided, but it underlies the reality that as close as we are, we're not quite there yet.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in the way of Kinect's dominance of living rooms across the country is going to be software. There are only so many dance and fitness games the market will bear before developers need to create games targeting core gamers. Coming up with innovative games that don't require a button could be tough and selling games is how the industry makes its money.
If it works, Microsoft could finish the revolution that Nintendo started, stealing market share from their competitors, capturing a new audience and swelling the gaming ranks by pushing gaming further into the mainstream instead of the shadows.
Kinect isn't going to replace the controlled gaming that the vast majority of Xbox 360 games require, the so-called "hardcore" gamers love and the source of the industry's wealth. But it does have the power to draw in a new audience and translate gaming into a language that anyone can understand.