That was quick. After days of glorious awe and wonder at the Entertainment Expo (E3) this week, Microsoft’s Kinect already has begun to lose its new car smell. The motion-sensing camera for Xbox 360 promised to take video-gaming to new heights, getting rid of game controllers and wrist-band wands all together. A lot of people seemed to get excited about the new potential this held for gaming, but can Microsoft actually deliver on its new and hopeful promises?
Not according to PCWorld. They posted an article that outlines some of the many problems with Microsoft’s Kinect, primarily focusing on the lack of sophisticated games that use the new camera-based motion sensor. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying it out for myself, but I can imagine that the early games would be more basic. The technology is new, and there’s a bit of a learning curve, for both Microsoft and gamers.
Nevertheless, the missing sophistication of Microsoft Kinect games is negligible in the grand scheme of things. Microsoft will continue to improve Kinect (from all sides), and other game consoles and developers will continue to innovate their own full-body game control capabilities, expanding the industry and its consumer features all together.
In the meantime, more and more people begin to realize the issues surrounding Kinect for Xbox 360, like the amount of noise the kids will make, jumping, stomping and running as they control their game characters. There’s two ways to look at that–let them be more active with these types of video games, or send them outside to play. You know, in the real world.
Microsoft Kinect may not have won the hearts of hardcore gamers, but I’m positive that’s not the short-term goal either. Nintendo Wii had a similar drudge with its initial adoption, releasing a handful of games that focused on a few primary movements. With Microsoft Kinect, the product is geared towards the same type of audience, which mainly includes women and children.
Expanding on its current market is a necessary growth strategy for all the major game console manufacturers, particularly as their systems become more integrated with home entertainment products, the web and a number of other social components. With Microsoft Kinect in particular, the long-term goal is to leverage Kinect in order to reach and connect users in multiple ways. Kinect will be used to control your media library, video chat with friends, and get leaderboard updates on your Microsoft Kin cell phone (we’re marketing towards kids, remember?).
So instead of a wholly revolutionary gaming system, we got something that looked a lot cooler before we got up close. But that’s OK, because it can only improve from here. As long as we remember what Microsoft’s real objectives are, and that heavily involves getting more types of people involved in social and interactive gaming.
Waggener Edstrom (WE) is handling all media and public relations on Microsoft Kinect.