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With Kinect, Microsoft Aims for a Game Changer


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Tim Nichols measures fun.

A slim, 32-year-old psychologist, he spends his days behind a one-way mirror at Microsoft’s video games research center here, watching people play the company's Xbox systems. He looks for smiles, listens for ecstatic squawks and logs triumphant gyrations. When a game is good, it elicits all the above and gets a "fun score" high enough for Microsoft to consider selling it.

And, of late, the fun quotient has skyrocketed.

The company's blend of game developers, interface whizzes and artificial-intelligence experts has built Kinect, a $150 add-on for the popular Xbox 360 console that hits stores next month. With its squat, rectangular shape and three unevenly spaced eyes, this black device looks like a genetically underserved creature from "Star Wars."

From The New York Times
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