Xbox Live Vision Hands-On Preview

Smile, you're on Xbox Live Vision! We take a quick look at the 360's new surveillance solution.

by

By Jeff Gerstmann - posted August 21, 2006

We're sorry to be the ones to say it, but your days of gaming with no pants on are about to come to an end. Or, depending on how much of an exhibitionist you are, perhaps they're just getting started. Microsoft's Xbox Live Vision camera, due to be released on September 19, appears fully functional and ready to go. Microsoft left a handful of these sleek cameras in our care, and we spent some time taking it through its paces.

The camera comes into play in a few different areas. The first thing you'll notice upon booting up a 360 with a camera attached is that the video from the camera appears in the dashboard at all times, behind the dashboard graphics, with a watery effect applied to the image. It's subtle, but it seems kind of cool. A similar effect is used in the audio visualizer--any movement detected by the camera causes a glowing outline of the movement to appear onscreen for a bit.

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You can't see it in the picture, but Jeff just made Alex's controller vibrate

While you could easily audio chat with any other Xbox Live subscriber before, now the camera lets you get into a one-on-one video chat. The image quality is pretty good for a live, streaming, webcam-style video. In addition to just chatting with a camera and a headset, you can press the bumpers to apply different video effects as you chat, altering the color of your image or turning on crazy blur or outline effects. But, of course, you'll need a headset to truly chat, as the Vision doesn't have a built-in microphone. For those of you looking to start or maintain a long-distance relationship over various forms of video chat, if you hit the analog triggers, you can make your chat companion's controller vibrate. Truly, the future is now. In addition to live video chat, you can also attach and send still images along with your text or voice messages.

Did you notice how the last dashboard update created a second level of gamer pictures? That's mainly for use with the camera. While you'll still select one of the preset or purchasable icons for the whole world to see, you can also snap a shot with the camera and use that as a personal icon that's viewable to everyone on your friends list--but only if they're viewing it from the console itself, not on xbox.com. Speaking of which, much like how audio messages require you to be at the console, photo attachments can't be viewed on xbox.com.

In addition to having dashboard features, the camera will come into play in some games. Uno is the only current game out with camera support, replacing the big picture of your icon with a live video feed. We tested this out a bit, and the response from the people we were playing with made it sound as though the movement was pretty smooth. More existing Live Arcade games, like Hardwood Hearts and Bankshot Billiards 2, will be updated with camera support in time for the unit's release.

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The Xbox Live Vision is the only camera that will work with the Xbox 360.

The camera controls are mostly the same between the various applications. Your two main options adjust the image contrast and brightness by you telling it what sort of lighting you have and what sort of wall it's pointed at. Both options have automatic settings that seem to work pretty well. When it comes time to snap an image or video chat, you can digitally zoom in on a section of the picture, if you so desire. You can do this on the fly in video chat, which is cool.

Overall, the Xbox Live Vision camera makes a really good first impression. The image quality is nice for both stills and video, and it's been well integrated into both the dashboard and into Uno. About the only thing missing is the ability to record video clips and send them to friends. Pricing details for the camera haven't been formally announced yet, but some retailers are already listing it at $39.99. We'll have more on the Vision as its September 19 release date nears.

What do you think of the Xbox Live Vision Camera? Have you had any success tracking down a leaked unit?

Discussion

314 comments
willow576
willow576

@kyotain if you play burnout paradise in party mode, it's a really lot of fun

Kyotain
Kyotain

Does anyone actually use this? I have one and don't use it at all.

rezpatriot
rezpatriot

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

datniccah187
datniccah187

still need to get one of these 3 months after the fact lol

GhostOfSparta21
GhostOfSparta21

It is expensive, but it is a good marketing choice, sell more cams, make more money.

samanbazy
samanbazy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nobdow
nobdow

This looks cool but I would like to just be able to plug any old webcam in and use that. This is expensive $60.

BryceyMan1
BryceyMan1

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I wounder if i should get it?

NND1
NND1

Saw it at Best Buy, super awesome I need this

trw534
trw534

That is awsome you can see other people and it makes games more fun

scottishlocard
scottishlocard

If you have ever been in a clan online, you know how often you play with the same people every day over an amount of months... and if you like the same games, maybe even years. I think that it is cool that you can now get to know someone even more then just with the headset. I am an ex-military man and this will come in handy to chat with a lot of friends that I do not get to see on a day-to-day basis because we are strung across the country, and some of them DON'T have PC's but do have a 360 and XBL. This could also work for long distant family members and really, would cost less buying one of these then talking long distance on the phone 3-4 times a week. There are some really cool things that could be done with one of these!

Merl57
Merl57

Absolutely unfair and downright disgusting that they require this camera for achievement points I am not spending 40 dollars for this Maybe if it was 20 but no way in hell for 60 gamer points even though is tempting

maxmax1234
maxmax1234

dont believe it. I have one and the vision and sharpness are way worse

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

I want it, but i dont know weather i would even use it much.

Daquon34
Daquon34

i want it but i dont kno if i should but for what u get its a good deal

goddamitall18
goddamitall18

You got that right it looks like one of those cheap ass fake home security cameras you see in mags

mavricxx
mavricxx

This thing is ugly, why couldn't they produce a cooler looking one like logitech does theirs? A webcam that attaches to an LCD/Plasma TV and flat surface woulda been great.

Raven754
Raven754

Just want to point out that this was posted last year so getting it for Christmas now, where have you been to not see one in the shops????

Food_Nipple
Food_Nipple

Ryan just gave everyone his gamertag...not too smart

SMDoles
SMDoles

Again...I'm sure this will be another peripheral I'll get for Christmas for my 360.

And again...not sure how much use it'll get on the Xbox, but if it doubles as a web cam I'm sure I'll use it a bit more.

BikerPunk
BikerPunk

muah ha ha ha, this is gonna be good.

dustopants
dustopants

the big question is... is this video compatible with stickam?

fedgem
fedgem

Is this camera compatible with a PC for video chat and such? Anyone?

em2wice
em2wice

I got the camera...check I got the headset...check I got UNO arcade...check I got a free month of Gold..check ...but no Totem game...still a good deal for 39.99 tho (BestBuy)

malice6
malice6

its great but wheres the totem game

joker353
joker353

Yes, nothing out today. Tried: Walmart Toy's R Us 3 Gamecrazy's 3 Gamestop I'm nuts.

joker353
joker353

Yes, I called every store known to man today, nobody had it Wed. Sept. 20. What a let down.

draken2533
draken2533

Its the 20th and still not out in the midwest

Cerick
Cerick

um i checked 2 eb games and bestbuy today, the 20th, and no one had it. WHY WHY WHY???

XtremePhsyco
XtremePhsyco

its pretty cool device i guess, will it work like the eye-toy?

d1mebagdarrell
d1mebagdarrell

Every store I've called is saying tomorrow (Sept. 20th)

Belovedcasper
Belovedcasper

September the 19th is here,WHERE THE HELL IS THE CAMERA!Still aint in the shops god dam!

Brain-Dead360
Brain-Dead360

Dude, if there is anyone out there who thinks that buying this is a bad idea, I'm just going to let you know you need to enroll into a special ed clinic because you are extremely mentally challenged. This has to be, by far the best web cam that I have ever seen for this price. This thing can not come out any quicker. Come on Microsoft, get me this camera PLEASE!!!!!!

TakaNui
TakaNui

this sold me, extremely high quality!

bern20
bern20

Ima be NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKED!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAYE!

Mordin
Mordin

This is awesome! Pure and simple genius! This little beauty can sense movement. So, does anyone else think that with a special suit, that enables it to detect our movements perfectly, and a pair of HD goggles, that gamers can now have(or in the very near future) a credible Virtual Reality experience! I am not crazy! And if I am the first to consider this, microsoft should pay me heeps of cash. It's only fair.

Grechin
Grechin

I just don't have the kind of money it takes to buy a whole bunch of accesories for the 360, to be honest, I don't think I'll really have enough for anything in gaming anymore, I'm piss poor from the "Current Generation" and all it's stuff, so now I think I'll just get out me old PC, and start playing all those great games that came out for it a long time ago, like fallout, half life, and deus ex. Later 360 people.

DannyX
DannyX

It'll be great to be forced to look at a picture of someone's tackle box when they win a hand of Texas Hold 'Em

Morten-K
Morten-K

I like what i have seen so far. I will definetily get one!