In its first iteration, Kinect was a sorely underused and unnecessary peripheral, which seemed to be developed solely for children and fitness fanatics that didn’t mind flailing their arms in front of their television, and looking like a fool.
Kinect’s only use for the average gamer – the one who sits there playing shooters, RPGs and any game that doesn’t involve movement, was its voice control… When it worked. Relatively few games were labelled “Better with Kinect”, and even fewer were truly better with the peripheral. The only example I feel being noteworthy for its voice control was Mass Effect 3, all other games that used it seemed to be gimmicky, or it was just plain easier and quicker to use your controller.
Microsoft announcing that Kinect 2.0 will be shipping with every single Xbox One (rather unsurprisingly) has stirred up quite a fuss in the gaming community. In fact, the majority of the Xbox Reveal did, but we’ll stick to Kinect.
Kinect 2.0 has evolved massively, technologically speaking. It now boasts a 1080p camera, increased FOV and processes 2Gb of data every second. But that isn’t what matters. Developers’ integration of Kinect into games and services will be the key to its success.
On the plus side, developers will know that every single Xbox One user will have a Kinect. The fact that it currently isn’t exactly clear how many, say, Call of Duty players have a Kinect for the Xbox 360, limits its use in current gen. Why waste money and resources developing extra things for a game, if only a small percentage of users will use them? Now that is no longer an issue, and developers can add extra features like voice control with the knowledge that everyone can use it. That doesn’t mean to say everyone will, however. What is interesting is how developers will utilize the Kinect for their games in new and interesting ways, not just “x, move”. The only thing that is worrying is that perhaps the hardware has evolved, but the things Kinect can add to an experience have not.
The thing most gamers have on their mind is that the Xbox One is never truly ‘off’, is constantly connected to the cloud, and is plugged into the Kinect, which is constantly watching and listening. Microsoft have confirmed that Kinect can be turned off, but many people are still concerned about their privacy, and quite understandably so.
Many people are still very negative about Kinect from its lack of decent integration in the 360. Others, myself included, are optimistic that if developers use the Kinect well, it can be successful. All in all, the new mandatory Kinect does open a lot of doors and offers plenty of promise, but it remains to be seen if certain gamers can get past the always-connected Kinect and purchase the Xbox One in the first place.
Let us know what you think about Kinect 2.0 in the comments – are you optimistic or do you think Microsoft should abandon Kinect all together?