Microsoft Kinect thoughts

So we finally got to see this thing that Microsoft has been hyping for a year now.  Well, we finally got to see it in action at least.  Known for a year as Project Natal, Microsoft promised that it would bring motion controlling into a new era.  The fact that we wouldn’t need to hold any type of object in our hands to use it was a bright spot for it.  But now that we’ve all finally seen it, was it totally worth all that hype and impatient waiting?

I’d like to think so.

It’s always hard to judge these things unless you have the hands-on experience with it.  Since I don’t and can only judge from what I’ve seen through the broadcast, this assessment may not be as great.  The thing is, I think Microsoft is really onto something here.  Seeing Kinect (going to be awhile before we get used to the name) in action made me pretty excited to try it out.  It seemed to flow very well with its dashboard integration and the voice recognition seemed really on.  Granted, that was Microsoft folks doing it and they sure had a lot of practice but I imagine it will work just like that.  The idea is great though and although there will be haters, you can’t completely despise the idea.  My only concern though is what are the future plans for Kinect.  Because I wasn’t totally impressed with the games that were shown.

My problem with that is that Microsoft had a long time to prepare to blow us away with this.  But what did we get?  Some underwhelming mini-type games that don’t appeal to a lot of folks, especially the hardcore gamers.  This is where I get nervous because since Microsoft didn’t state a price, I think we can assume it’ll be slightly costly (especially if that $149 rumor turns out true).  As much as I want it and will probably get a hold of it when it launches on November 4, I’m worried about its future.  If this is going to turn out to be just that typical device that is used for simplistic little shovelware titles, what’s the point?  There wasn’t much that they showed that would indicate that this is going to appeal to everyone and have insane support for the more mainstream gamers.  But, as I’ve said, the technology is still fascinating and I think it does do a lot of things better than the Wii.

Face it, the idea of not having to use any controller or device in your hands is awesome.  But Microsoft needs to appeal to the masses and not turn this into another lame peripheral with small support.  I know we have some big names that are working for titles on it such as THQ, EA, UBISOFT, and SEGA, but if they just plan on releasing small, uninteresting titles, again what’s the point?  This doesn’t mean that I disliked everything that was shown to us though.

I may be bashed for this but I thought the Kinectimals live demo was quite fascinating as it showed us some really good potential for the device.  While it is essentially a virtual pet game at heart, it does try to take it to a new immersive level.  Even Ubisoft’s ‘Your Shape” has some interesting potential for the exercising side of things.  Hey, it’s better than strapping on a ton of crap or using some board peripheral.  But some other demoed games such as Joyride and Kinect Adventures weren’t all that fascinating to look at.   I really think Microsoft could have done better in that department.  But who knows, maybe over the course of E3 we will see some more things and other hands-on impressions that will change all of that around.  I will say this, they did try to appeal to the hardcore gamer a bit by showing us a trailer that they proclaimed as “real” of a Star Wars lightsaber game that could be pretty cool.

Kinect has potential.  A ton of it.  So Microsoft if you want to sell this thing, you better support it like mad and appeal to all gamers.  While I wasn’t totally impressed, there was enough things to me that said, “Hey, this could be really cool if it goes in the right direction”.   Looking forward to seeing more very soon.  And give us the retail price, will ya?


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