Kinect Sports Rivals: stand in your lounge & wave your arms around

I’ve been riding a jet ski in my lounge room for the past couple of nights.

Now before you do another “Whaaaat?”, I haven’t been riding a real jet ski in my lounge, but a virtual one thanks to Microsoft and Kinect Sports Rivals , an Xbox One game that puts a sports arena at your fingertips.

Set on a sporting paradise simply called The Island, Kinect Sports Rivals is a game where you jump and wave your arms in from of the Kinect camera in an effort to taste victory in six sports, including rock climb, soccer, wave runners and tennis.

I haven’t played enough of the game yet to do a proper review but I want to touch on the tech behind the game, which uses the Xbox One’s improved Kinect camera to take a full body scan of the player before you start playing  – and the result is pretty damn impressive, actually.

Hey, it's me: My Kinect Sports Rivals avatar as captured by the Xbox One's Kinect camera.
Hey, it’s me: My Kinect Sports Rivals avatar as captured by the Xbox One’s Kinect camera.

When the game starts, its narrator – former Dr Who star David Tennant – asks you to stand in front of the Kinect camera, which then scans your body and face. During the face scan you have to move your head up and down and to the let and right.

Once it’s obtained all the information it needs, you see pixels materialise into the shape of a person. It’s creating your virtual character. This is when you get to see whether the scan looks like you or not.

The first scan didn’t do too well, giving me glasses and a beard, but to be fair, it was due to the abysmally poor lighting in the room that I’ve temporarily got the Xbox One set up in.

A scan the following day with full sunlight streaming into the room  was much more successful. You can see a picture of my virtual sports star in this blog. Look to your right.

During the creation process and your face is just a mass of pixels, the narrator urges your to smile, frown and make faces to see that the on-screen face will move with your facial movements.

Down to the final product, then. While it’s not a pixel perfect representation of what my face looks like, I can definitely see elements of my face in my Kinect Sports Rivals avatar, so it’s succeeded in that regard (sadly, I don’t have a chiselled chin and piercing blue eyes). I’m wearing some sort of skin-tight body suit which can be upgraded as I progress through the game.

I’ll get a review up as soon as I can (we’re about to move into a motel for four nights until our earthquake-damaged home is finished getting repaired) but I thought I’d just show you what the new Kinect is capable of when it comes to scanning people.

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