Kinect's marketing will encourage mothers who have previously perceived the Xbox 360 as something that 'lives' in their son's room, emanating low-level evil, as something that might get the fractured family back together. It may even be able to punch through the ring fence that Nintendo, the Wii and the balance board have put around the "Fitness without having to go outside" market.
Yes, we've not looked at Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
yet, that'll come tomorrow - after the USA launch has calmed and before the UK launches. As will Fighters Uncaged
, which I hope to compare and contrast with Sony's The Fight
for Move. I also hope to give Sonic Riders
a run for its money.
We will certainly be bringing you more on video and speech.
For me, Kinect is not accurate enough right now. One constant element when navigating the system from the Hub to the Sign-In was a reminder of early Wii, when I gave up navigating with the motion controller (before Motion Plus) and deferred to the D-Pad. You don't get that option with Kinect. It demands that you interact its way.
For now, however, I'm going to leave this admittedly underwhelmed overview with upsides.
The idea - even the idea of getting hold of the technology - is a sensible one from Microsoft. The idea that low-cost existing tech could be further developed and then marketed and aimed at part of the entertainment-hungry audience that Microsoft is not involved in: the family, the female, the under-10s is a good one... commercially.
I understand that Kinect was developed by the Entertainment and Devices group with input from more business areas in the company. I understand that Kinect tech could be used in business presentations. It all makes sense from a commercial point of view.
Niches are being filled. Demographics are being expanded into. The interaction even looks like 'the future'.
The notion that Microsoft, with the Xbox 360 apparently making money - if not recouping investment quite yet - is betting the farm on Kinect is far from the truth though.
, even with its single-player only scoring, is a step up from the old pleasures of the arcade Dance titles that we all saw Japanese guys and gals excelling at. Right now, it is the key title. Unless you're 10 or under, in which case Kinectimals
should be the Xmas extra. However, this relies more on the story-telling and unassailable cuteness than it does on tight, non-frustrating controls.
I really do want to be able to play Burnout Paradise
or even an involving kart game with Kinect. I want it to recognise a steering wheel, or a table tennis bat, or a golf club or a rifle. I want it to enable me to accelerate and brake and to feel involved in 'the experience'.
Maybe the next obvious add-on for old fogey's like me who feel that touch and feel are basic to human experience would be something a wireless heart-rate monitor or a wireless TENS machine that provides tiny rumbles?
Why? I'm not a Microsoft fanboy. The answer is a simple one, innovation and creative thinking will invoke competition and more innovation. Wii has done this and has begat Move and Kinect. Actually, EyeToy also begat Kinect to an extent.
The ideas underlying Kinect are sound. The standard controller has definitely alienated large numbers of people from getting involved in what should be the cultural life of video gaming. Ultra violent games or games that rely on teen fixations have done the same. So, there is room for Kinect's attempt to involve multiple people in playing harmless fun.
I hope that the device attracts creative and innovative 'experiences' beyond fitness, dancing and 'sport'. I can see scope to wandering around cityscapes as expansive at Liberty City from GTA IV
once the slightly laggy feel of waiting for icons to fill as they recognise that you're not moving your hand is patched up. I can also imagine something like Heavy Rain
(or even the disheartening misdirection that was Milo) benefiting from the type of full-body immersion that Kinect promises.
certainly indicates that this kind of thing might be feasible in the future.
While I can see the advantage of a Minority Report
method of PnP or channel flipping on my TV, or even navigating my computer, I feel the lack of button presses and rumble - obviously I don't. And that's the point.
Right, patient reader. There will be more Kinect content coming up leading up to the release in the UK on November 10th - and beyond.
For now though, it's a hat-tip to Microsoft for imagining a new way to interact and implementing it. But, for a gamer at least, the price is too high given the current climate; the controls seem wooly; the games are targeted at Mumsnet (Dance Central
could be a break-out though) and the lack of interaction is, you may think counter-intuitively - a barrier.