Since Kinect was first shown at E3 way back in 2009 (and then truly unveiled at E3 2010), Netflix navigation has been one of its most anticipated uses. The thought of interacting with your Netflix Instant Queue Minority Report style, waving your hands in the air like a conductor to find that perfect movie, seemed like it would be an awesome experience.
Well, the day has finally arrived and the Xbox 360 Netflix app is now Kinect enabled. But what was supposed to be a day of rejoicing for Microsoft and Xbox 360 gamers is quickly becoming a PR nightmare.
“By integrating Kinect into the Netflix experience on Xbox LIVE, we’re continuing to transform the way people enjoy their favorite entertainment in the living room.”
Gamers have been buzzing on forums about the update, and the response isn't good. Media outlets, from gaming publications to TIME Magazine, have been reporting that the Netflix Kinect update isn't what they were hoping for. There are a few problems according to those gamers and media that have installed the update.
When you use Kinect, you access most of the third-party applications (like ESPN and Last.FM) from the Kinect hub. Inside of the Kinect hub, gamers can exit apps and open new ones without ever having to pick up the controller. Naturally this is where gamers would expect to find the Netflix app now that it's Kinect enabled, but they'd be wrong. In order to access Netflix, you still need to use the Xbox 360 controller to select the app under the video menu.
The second -- and most complained about -- problem presents itself inside of the app. When using the Kinect with Netflix you swipe your hand from side to side to scroll though movies and hover over a specific title to select it. But when gamers try to call up a search box, access their instant queue, or browse though different genres of movies they'll be met with the message "For more choices and search, use your controller." The only movies that are available to browse using the Kinect are those under the "Suggestions For You" tab.
Regardless of how you choose a movie, once it's playing there is full Kinect integration. Basic voice commands (play, pause, stop, etc.) have been added, and users can control fast forwarding, rewinding, and most other actions using hand motions.
Microsoft was hoping that the release of the Netflix update would add another killer feature to Kinect, but judging by gamers reactions, it's just the opposite. Across the board public opinion of this highly anticipated application has been negative. Now, Microsoft could be planning to expand the use of Kinect in Netflix, but if that is the case, they may have been better off waiting to release the update.
Have you tried out Netflix Kinect yet? What are you thoughts about it and its limitations? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter
The 43MB Netflix Kinect update is available now for the Xbox 360.
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