There are launch events and then there are launch events. The "Halo: Reach" launch at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square was pretty big. The Wii launch a few years back was even bigger. But I daresay I've never seen anything quite like what is going on in Times Square right now. Microsoft has officially taken over the center of New York City to promote the launch of their new motion-sensing peripheral, Kinect.
The above shot was taken from the MTV offices on the 29th floor, and the height allows you to get a sense of the scale of this event. Apart from setting up demo stations throughout Times Square, Microsoft has created a massive, football field-sized stage and has about 100 dancers doing choreography in time with Kinect gameplay footage. It's bonkers.
It's only 6:45pm here in New York, and the midnight launch is still hours away. Microsoft should have plenty to keep people occupied in that time, including a live performance by Ne-Yo, which just started moments ago. I know that because I can hear all the festivities loud and clear, 29 floors up. Seriously, it sounds like an early New Year's Eve down there.
I haven't walked the full line of folks waiting to pick up the game, but it's worth noting that the first 3,000 people who buy Kinect at the Toys R Us in Times Square at midnight will go home with a free copy of "Kinect Sports" and "Joy Ride." I guess it's the least Microsoft could do for the supportive fans who have been waiting in 40 degree weather for the last day or so.
While the launch event is going down tonight, the really interesting stuff happens tomorrow, when the embargo lifts and I'm finally able to give my impressions of Kinect. Wondering if it's worth your hard-earned $150? Check back tomorrow morning to find out!