In our Oct/Nov issue—on stands now!—we took advantage of early access to Microsoft's new Kinect controller platform to put together an in-depth preview of what you could expect. Since the Kinect actually comes out today and we haven't gotten our official review unit yet (*clears throat meaningfully and looks at Microsoft*), we're taking the opportunity to run the full article online so that you can get a sense of what you'll be in for. [Ed.—the Kinect arrived just as we finished this post, so keep an eye peeled for a real review next week sometime. Good looks, Microsoft!]

Ah, skepticism. In 2009, when Microsoft unveiled the Kinect (then called Project Natal) at E3, we shrugged it off as another example of Redmond jumping on an innovator's idea (in this case, the Wii)—and when we played the demo game a few months later, our opinion didn't change drastically. But this past summer at E3 2010, we finally had our "aha!" moment: Turns out that it's not about the games at all. In recent years, different companies have trotted out devices designed to transform the living room into a communication and entertainment hub, but for various reasons, the attempts have missed the mark. Kinect's varied bag of tricks may be what Xbox needs to make the idea finally work. Cameras, depth and motion sensors, and microphones capture your movements (and sound) in 3-D—a development that takes the "motion control" experience to its logical extreme. Microsoft's tagline may sound corny, but it's true: You really are the controller. And when you pair Kinect with the new functionality of Xbox Live, shit starts to get crazy. The best part is the fluidity of it all. It's accurate, intuitive, and has what (we think) it takes to kick-start a new of interactive entertainment at home.