Kinect, as a piece of technology, really is incredible. It’s got voice, gesture and facial recognition capabilities, as well as depth sensing. It’s been used to scan and build 3D models of rooms and even pretty much on the fly, made a Jedi lightsabre-battling robot possible – and even created a virtual, augmented reality dressing room. As far as games go though, it’s pretty much been a dud.
Kinect’s perpetually-sunglassed creative director at Microsoft, Kudo Tsunoda, still believes that groundbreaking games utilising the hardware will come to fruition – when developers get their heads around the hardware. He says there’s so much more to extract from Kinect in its current iteration – and that Kinect 2 won’t be necessary for evolution.
“I think that waiting for the next big thing isn’t about waiting for the Kinect 2, he said in an interview with Venturebeat. “It’s more about all the great invention that can be done in software without having to go out and spend money on a new device.” “I do think that the next evolution of the experience will come as developers get better and better at working with Kinect. I think right now we’re in an area where you’re going to start seeing some amazing Kinect experiences based on things like using voice or using full body or using identity. And then I think going forward you’re going to see a lot more people really blending all of the different features of Kinect together to build some really rich and immersive new types of experiences,” he added.
Focus, he says, should be put on using Kinect’s features to augment and compliment existing game genres.
“One of the things that we’re super excited about is how you can use a combination of facial detection, motion detection, voice recognition, and tone of voice recognition to allow somebody to participate in a narrative like an actual character inside the scene. So much of how you communicate is through body language and tone of voice, and being able to incorporate those things into an interaction with a digital character is stuff that only Kinect can do,” he said. “I think that’s why you see Kinect branching off into all different genres of games now. It’s because developers are able to do more with the technology as they’ve become more experienced in working with it.”
“It’s not where you have to wait for Kinect 2 for something to be different as much as the more that we’re able to play with Kinect and update Kinect over time, all of the capabilities in all different types of scenarios, we’re going to keep pushing. I think that, again, it means both the evolution of existing features as well as the invention of new ones,” he said.
I lost my enthusiasm for Kinect not long after the device’s release; when it became clear that all we’d be getting is the same sort of shovelware that populated the Wii’s library early in its life. that said, I’m intrigued by Capcom and FROM Software’s new Steel Battalion, which uses Kinect in tandem with a regular controller.
Last Updated: May 21, 2012