Long have gamers dreamed of being able to acquire food in the midst of prolonged play sessions by utilizing the connectivity of their favorite gaming devices. What was once solely imagination (aside from a similar implementation in EverQuest 2) has now become a reality, as Pizza Hut now has an official app on the Xbox 360. Is it worth the download for this Kinect-based pizza ordering experience? Eh.
The latest in many Kinect-enabled apps for the 360, the Pizza Hut app adds functionality that no one could have imagined or really wanted to your Xbox 360 system. A rather small download, the app is not unlike other basic implementations of Kinect technology, in that it features a boxy, Windows-8-style menu system with some relevant graphics and logos thrown in and little else in regards to window dressing.
Upon launch, the app asks if you are ordering for delivery or for pickup, delivery being available for both cash and credit card customers. Once you’ve entered your delivery information or used the app’s search function to find the nearest Pizza Hut, you can proceed to rifle through all of the chain’s standard offerings, from customizable pizza options to wings, other sides, and desserts. A sub-heading lists the most current active deals for quick access, and those with existing accounts on the Pizza Hut website can link their accounts to the app for quicker checkout and repeats of prior orders.
The account linking is where the disadvantages of the Pizza Hut app begin to show. While it’s a relief of sorts that pizza cannot be acquired with the Bison Dollars known as MS Points, those wishing to pay for their dinner with a credit card are instructed they must list that card on their account on the website, rather than being able to enter it on their 360. This is a wise security precaution, to be sure, but also makes the app an unnecessary extra step since you can order from the website anyway. The Kinect functionality is clumsy and undercooked, providing little more than a new way to look like an ass as you flail about trying to select your toppings. Using a controller eases things a bit, but typing information such as your address can be irritatingly time-consuming for those without the Chatpad add-on. Another issue comes with the entry of coupon codes, as entering a coupon will add your discounted product as a new item in the order, rather than applying the discount to qualifying goods you’ve already chosen and customized. This forces you to remove the original item and retrace your ordering steps should you go in unaware.
Perhaps the only advantage ordering pizza from your 360 offers is a lengthier space for special instructions regarding your pizza, such as delivery weirdness or requests for messages inside the box. When ordering from the website, such requests are limited to 40 characters or less. Additionally, you can set a Beacon stating that you want to play Pizza Hut, which is kind of funny the first two or three times you see it pop up from a friend. If you have absolutely no shame, you can also post to Facebook from the app when you’ve finished ordering.
While ordering works just fine with the Pizza Hut app, and your order will be ready and on its way just as quickly as other forms of ordering, the cumbersome nature of the app makes it a completely unnecessary step when anyone with an Xbox Live account will already have some form of telephone and access to the web to use a more convenient ordering method. New users of the app get a 15% discount on their first order, so it may be worth investigating just for the savings. After that, however, there’s no reason to leave this waste of storage space on your system’s hard drive.