Microsoft: Kinect will start casual, but we're not leaving hardcore games behind

Microsoft is not "stepping away" from core games, according to Chris Lewis, Microsoft's VP of the Interactive Entertainment Business in Europe. He does admit, however, that Kinect's launch games will be designed to appeal to a wide audience (read: casual).

"Certainly over the launch phase and this Christmas in particular I think you'll see very much pure Kinect for 360 experiences that will appeal to the broad young/older/female/family audiences I described earlier," he told in an interview posted yesterday.

Above: Lots of this to come, at least early in Kinect's life

He continued, "I'll say again, at the risk of sounding like a cracked record, that doesn't in any way, shape or form represent us stepping away from the core - which is why, during the press conference at E3 for example, we spent a good solid chunk of time around Halo Reach, Gears of War and Fable. And there will be more coming from us, and our third party partners."

Granted, they also spent a hell of a lot of time trying to make Kinect look like a secret alien technology discovered in a Mayan pyramid.


But if we suspend our cynicism for a moment: early Kinect-only experiences will be casual, which we already knew, but it sounds like it's business as usual for the controller-based franchises we all love. So what were we so worried about? If we don't like Kinectimals we can just ignore the whole system, right? We'll see. Lewis went on to say that hybrid control schemes which utilize a combination of physical movements and traditional controllers will be here within 18 months.

"[Will] we see more of these hybrid experiences coming, where you can complement what might ostensibly be a controller-based experience with gestures, voice and physical movement? Yes, I think that will come. I think there's an overlap there, a logical and a good one.

Again, without compromising on the experience, making sure it's incremental and generally advantageous to the experience, then you'll see those types of experiences coming over time. And therefore I think all of the different types of gaming experiences you describe will become available over the coming 18 months or so."

Above: After Reach (pictured), Halo will be developed internally by Microsoft - will the first post-Bungie Halo include MS mandated Kinect functionality?

I don't entirely trust the part about not compromising the experience, because, for me, waving my arms around always compromises the experience. And how would it even work - would we put the controller down to interact with Kinect, then pick it back up again? All that aside, however, I think we can still be optimistic.

The Wii is a system based entirely on motion control, so developers haven't had much of a choice - it's either work in the Wiimote's motion-sensing functionality, or try to brush off years of Nintendo's "motion, motion, motion" marketing campaign and tell gamers to hold their controllers sideways. Kinect and Move, however, are peripherals. Even if, in 18 months, the next Halo uses voice commands and hand gestures, the addition probably won't be fundamental to the gameplay. For gamers who aren't interested in Kinect Sports or party games, Kinect may simply be an optional way to add a bit of physical flare to games. That's my hope, at least.

In related news, while Microsoft may not be stepping away from hardcore gamers, Kinect players may need to step away from their TVs. According to's Kinect pre-order page, you'll need "6 feet between you and your television for play space." Try to find that in a San Francisco apartment!

The stipulation is dubious, however. We've definitely seen Kinect games played with less than six feet, and we imagine this is just a suggested play space - wouldn't want anyone tripping over a coffee table and suing, right?


Jul 21, 2010




  • CAPST3R - July 22, 2010 4:03 p.m.

    You know, there's a basic test to find out if a controller works or not; Pac-Man. Just imagine the game being played with the controller, and if it works, then it's alright. Imagine trying to play Pac-Man on Kinect; it just doesn't work, does it? Conclusions: Pac-Man is required on every platform; Motion controllers (which, for all intents and purposes, includes Kinect) are absolutely dreadful; if you can't even play Pac-Man with them, they're hopeless. Also, here are all the words that I just typed that flashed up as wrong; Pac, Kinect, and alright. Now then, the former two are understandable; whoever created this spell-checker is a moron. But alright, I think you'll find, is a word.
  • AlmightyFuzz - July 22, 2010 10:25 a.m.

    BTW, Bioware have said that they are looking into Kinect to see how it can be incorporated into core games. Imagine how that would work in Mass Effect 3? The gestures and head tracking etc would work very well during the conversations. Obviously not so well in combat, which is what the controller will be for. All Kinect needs to be successful is good initial uptake (by core or casual, it doesn't matter), so that it would make financial sense for developers to create experiences that appeal core gamers. The only problem with this is that I think they have priced Kinect too high...
  • ericeraqus - July 22, 2010 12:41 a.m.

    maybe some third party developer would create some kind of military game dependent on vehicles like armored core/gundam/etc. that gamers could interact with full on controls. I'd buy kinect then
  • juicenpancakes - July 21, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    Man, even though I wasn't at the Kinect reveal, that picture of the GR heroes in the lighted ponchos sends a shiver through my body. A year from now we can point back to that date as the date Kinect died. Yes, it has already died.
  • Thuperman - July 21, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    I feel like a new Halo Wars could be......interesting on Kinect reCaptcha: triathlon 36L....why is it i feel its telling me im fat i need this
  • ThePrivateDick - July 21, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    @adamhowes Agreed.
  • adamhowes - July 21, 2010 9:08 p.m.

    Fuck off motion gaming.
  • DarthWaya - July 21, 2010 8:27 p.m.

    I think what a lot of commentors miss where the Kinect is concerned, is that if you're a regular reader or commentor of most games sites such as this one, you're not the initial target audience for Kinect. I personally could care less about Kinect, and have no interest in playing any of the launch titles. But my wife, who plays a lot of hardcore games as well, wants one. So does my daughter. So, come launch day, there will be one in my house. I hope the technology develops to the point that there's games for it that I'll enjoy, but if it doesn't, I'm good so long as I've got my games that don't use it. What I really don't understand is the attitude of "I can't wait for it to fail", or "Casual games ruin the market." In actuality, casual game success makes the risk of new IPs for the hardcore more palatable to a publisher.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - July 21, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    @Cyberninja The classic/GameCube controllers require consumers to purchase another controller, or already have one. What I am saying is that the Wii is fundamentally set up for motion control. Nintendo didn't create a big ad campaign to promote GameCube controllers, did they? So if a developer wants to make a non-motion game, they have to either tell consumers to use the wiimote on its side, or purchase a regular controller.
  • nighthawk205 - July 21, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    Motion control hardcore games are going to be used as much as motion controls are used in hardcore games on the Wii: barely. I don't know how "barely" would work with the Kinect, but just look at what people had to say when Burnout was demoed using it. Everyone complained about how you had to stand the whole time and it got annoying and such. Any hardcore games are going to miss a ton of sales if they can only be played using the Kinect. If we see something like Gears come out and it only works with Kinect controls, we'll all feel screwed over. reCaptcha: slammed community... how relevant
  • Cyberninja - July 21, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    this guy is wrong if the devolpers at nintendo want a game without motion control they will make it using clasic or gamecube controler
  • Tygerclaws - July 21, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    Honestly, I don't believe a word of it. Anyone with half a brain would look around and see that no core gamer wants to wave their arms around while playing Mass Effect, so at MOST we'll see side games that have two control options. Not that I really care, now that I'm free of that bullshit. :D
  • Doctalen - July 21, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    I some how think that trying to incorporate Kinect into harcore gamers will fail even more then just letting it die by itself.

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