I recently started digging into my Kinect games again. In the midst of moving, increased work load and general business, I steered clear of the device during the majority of my gaming time. I was hooked when it came out. They convinced me that it was something worth owning, and with the track record Microsoft has this generation with upgrading and iterating on it's software, I definitely wanted to get in on the ground level.
I went back to it for the pure reason that I wanted to get up and move around and I had a device ready and willing to go. I have also found myself starting to use the Kinect for the Netflix integration from time to time. It is a nice solution when your controller goes to sleep after being inactive. With Child of Eden recently being released and things like Kinect Fun Labs being pushed to the community, I think it is a good second wind for the device. If you have not jumped in, now is as good a time as any. They are also turning around second versions of the initial launch titles much sooner than we saw with the Wii which is probably for the best to keep people interested. Fun Labs, as basic as it is, shows that Microsoft is not cashing in on all the sales. They want the users to gravitate towards functionality that is inherently fun or different so that the software developers see value in designing for their platform. There are two distinct examples of games that I hope developers follow in the near future.
Child of Eden is basically Rez with nicer graphics and slightly tighter controls. That is a good thing. It is a good thing that they added the Kinect controls. They work in a way that is worth digging into and maybe gives a little more life to a relatively short title. Having either hand be dedicated to a different function makes for unique and exciting moments and shows promise for future titles to come. The good thing about this, is that it is a game that all players can still enjoy without buying a new piece of hardware.
Forza 4 is the other game in question. Being able to play Forza like you normally do is no doubt going to be a great experience for racing fans and fans of the series. The Kinect head tracking adds a new level of depth to the experience and does something quite special. It allows you to play the game just like normal, sitting on the couch, but capitalizes on motion you may already make while playing. If you play in cockpit mode, you probably shift while you play already. I would love developers to take this idea and run with it. Making the experience better rather than adding something gimmicky is what makes the Kinect a very promising platform.
I do want those Kinect only experiences, and i think they have value but generally hit a totally different market. A hardcore gamer is not going to want to, or admit to want to, play something that requires them to move furniture every time they play games. Nintendo seems to be thinking the same way with the WiiU by having a more standard controller that adds some new functionality to it. I hope more people see the Kinect in this way.