Much of Kinect depends not just on the presence of interaction itself, but the quality and definition of your actions that the system can detect. So far we've only really noticed larger, arm gestures and whole body movements, but could it detect smaller finger movements? Certainly not in the demos we saw so far but that doesn't mean the system won't be fine-tuned and improved over time.
When Kinect was first announced, Peter Molyneux introduced a tech demo called "Meet Milo" where a virtual boy talked and interacted with a person, even to the point of observing a piece of paper with a drawing on it, that was held to a screen and immediately scanning it in and passing it to the virtual boy. A show-stopping moment that promised to usher in a new era of video game interactivity.
It's fair to say that the era of Milo that we imagined hasn't really been delivered in the launch games. Microsoft wouldn't allow us to take any video clips of Kinect running. So instead we took a clip of two journalists playing the game.
For some people, that'll be fine. "Drunk people", as PC Advisor's Carrie Ann-Skinner explained, "will love it". We suspect children will too. Hardcore gamers are unlikely to put down Call Of Duty: MW2 to play a game of 'run on the spot and wave your arms around like a monkey' but that's also understandable.
If you consider this Microsoft's create-something-like-the-Wii-but-different-enough-to-be-exciting, then it is by all accounts going to be a rip-roaring success. It's certainly got novelty factor coming out of its ears.
But there's little doubt that what we're seeing so far is the tip of a larger, and much more interesting iceberg.
Microsoft informed us that Kinect will be integrated with the Xbox interface, so you'll be able to use hand gestures to navigate the onscreen menus. There will also be spech recognition utilised in the menu system. This is the Minority Report-type of future that we're interested in. Sadly, that wasn't on show so we can't report on that. Microsoft also couldn't inform us as to how it would handle more complex gestures (like select, back, main menu, and so on). Will it be able to identify certain gestures: a finger making a circular counter-clockwise gesture for back, for example? Or will it be all palms to the screen to control the giant white blob?
We also didn't get to test out any speech recognition technology. Partly because the environment was too noisy, and also because we think it isn't yet implemented (at least not in the games we tested). We've yet to see a really good use of voice technology that works effectively for a non-American accent, but it's clear that this is an area of technology that's bounding along.
Kinect is a no doubt going to be a game changer. If for no other reason than it places the Xbox 360 in the same arena as the Nintendo Wii, and even raises Nintendo's hand. In terms of show-stopping prowess the likes of Dance Central, Kinect Sports, and Kinect Adventures get the message across: it's about body control.
What really will be interesting is if Microsoft can take the system beyond what it showed us today, and use it to create comfortably interactive experiences - ones that are subtle, rather than show-stopping. Cleverly controlled menu systems that you can understand and control instinctively without having to reach for the remote control (because there isn't one any more).