Confession: I bought Kinectimals

There are very few demos that I can say made me want to walk out buy the product immediately. Kinectimals was one of those occasions. On launch day, I went to the Microsoft Store, grabbed a copy and stuffed it in my bag as fast as I could (in case my cool friends saw me). Next stop was to find my nearest store. Why?

Well, I saw this Kinectimals demo a few weeks ago and was blown away not only by the gameplay but also the integration of real world with virtual world. In the video above, Mark holds up the stuffed animal from a Burger King Kid’s meal and the Kinect camera recognizes it. Literally…the game sort of goes “oh yeah, I recognize that, it’s a cuddly toy”. Seconds later, the toy is in the game and Mark is having his pet tiger chase it around a field. Magical is all I can say – and now it’s real.

Burger King recently started offering six different Kinectimals toys in Kid’s Meals. These stuffed toy animals have a Microsoft Tag that unlocks this unique feature in Kinectimals

Where is this blurring of virtual and physical worlds going? It got me thinking about the time I spent last week updating my Xbox avatar. I bought digital items from the Xbox marketplace to make my digital me appear more like the real world me. I could easily envisage a future where the shoes I buy from a store have a tag on the side of the box and when I hold them up to the sensor and my Xbox avatar gets my real shoes. Boom! Now that’d be cool. There’s a ton of opportunity here – to make our virtual versions of us more real and for brands to get smart about how they help us do that.

Thanks to Mel Carson for the video