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What Kinect needs if it's going to sell to the hardcore

It's all go for Microsoft''s Kinect controller at the moment, as far as news goes. Earlier this week there was the 'Is he/Isn't he?' story of interactive corpse-boy Milo's cancellation, and now we have the motion capture device's full tech specs (turns out it isn't run by magic, regardless of what you heard at E3) and a claim from MS marketing man Ryan More that hardcore gamers will be the first to pick it up.

If the Kinect launch line-up doesn't improve upon what we saw at E3 (click right here for a concise and brutal video summation), I don't see that happening. Not after so many of us got burned by the promise of the Wii's waggle revolution. But I do think it can be improved. So as well as the full tech run-down for you all to chin-strokingly pretend to understand, here you can find you can find my ideas of what Kinect really needs to bring if it's going to convince the core. So read on. Find them.

First, the tech run-down

Sensor
Colour and depth-sensing lenses
Voice microphone array
Tilt motor for sensor adjustment
Fully compatible with existing Xbox 360 consoles

Field of View
Horizontal field of view: 57 degrees
Vertical field of view: 43 degrees
Physical tilt range: ± 27 degrees
Depth sensor range: 1.2m - 3.5m

Data Streams
320x240 16-bit depth @ 30 frames/sec
640x480 32-bit colour@ 30 frames/sec
16-bit audio @ 16 kHz

Skeletal Tracking System
Tracks up to 6 people, including 2 active players
Tracks 20 joints per active player
Ability to map active players to LIVE Avatars

Audio System
LIVE party chat and in-game voice chat (requires Xbox LIVE Gold Membership)
Echo cancellation system enhances voice input
Speech recognition in multiple

No major surprises there, but it's interesting to note that only two players can be active at once. Will this limit local multiplayer to jostly, raft-jumping silliness? Not necessarily, but you can forget four-player split-screen racing. And while it seems like a minor point, we're heartened by the mention of echo cancellation for voice chat. Having suffered the choking underwater Dalek audio of Nintendo's Wii Speak peripheral, the idea of a non-headset mic on the 360 terrified us.

But what does it need to do?

Basically, Kinect needs a launch game line-up that follows the same model used by every new console, especially if the newly rumoured  £129:99 price point turns out to be accurate. One impressive core game covering each of the major genres, so that every serious gamer has something to pique their interest. But at the same time, it has to do them really well, and provide a little something more than just proving they work with motion control. We can already play these games with controllers, so we need this device to convince us in and of itself. I reckon we need the following...

Topics

Microsoft

21 comments

  • NullG7 - July 3, 2010 1:47 a.m.

    I would pay anything under $150 (US Dollars) for a B&W3 on kinect on Xbox, solong as it was more like the first one than the second one. I would work to teach my creature more actions and behaviors, I would work for miricals and buildings, abillites ect. But just BUYING them was cheap and boring on a level that annoyed me on a deep level.
  • DabWolf - July 2, 2010 9:27 a.m.

    Ya know, the RPG section of this article almost convinced me on buying Kinect...but then I remember the premier of it, and I just quickly beat the notion right out of my head with a hammer.
  • Xtra_Tasty - July 2, 2010 5:33 a.m.

    i would personaly love to see black an white 3 or something simalar... that would sell it right there. at least to me.
  • chainsawninja600 - July 2, 2010 5:28 a.m.

    "using a controller in my left hand for analogue stick movement and a little light trigger control" this, you see? this, and it improves by 87%
  • Visual217 - July 2, 2010 5:10 a.m.

    lets see bitches now try to do what they do in the game to bunnyhop like a bitch all over the goddamn place and get in glitches
  • FlacidDonkeyGuy - July 2, 2010 2:43 a.m.

    Head tracking in FPS Nuff said.
  • WouldYouKindly - July 1, 2010 5:25 p.m.

    It's funny, the first time I heard about Natal, I thought of RPG's where characters could read my facial expressions...
  • philipshaw - July 1, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    Great article but they would have to give me one for free before I even thought about using it
  • powerpc127 - July 1, 2010 5:16 a.m.

    What Kinect needs if it's going to sell to the hardcore: Buttons. kthxbai.
  • JADENkOTOR - July 1, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    @ Metroid- did you mean Skynet
  • Wunderbolt - June 30, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    If they made Portal 2 compatible with Kinect, would that satisfy your last concern?
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 30, 2010 9:28 p.m.

    Shutting someone up by glaring at them would be epic. But it would never happen until we get real AI, skytech style.
  • ElGuybrush - June 30, 2010 8:12 p.m.

    If they want hardcore gamers, they have to make non-rail games playable with subtle body movements. If I'm sitting on a couch and Kinect has the capacity to see I'm tapping my feet on the floor and translate that to my character walking, that's a step in the right direction. If it can interpret moving my head slightly to the side to turn my character, then that's a step forward. Inability to move is, IMO, one of the biggest reasons this would fail miserably, and if kinect isn't strong enough to interpret fairly small movements like tapping feet into character actions like moving, then it doesn't have any hardcore hopes.
  • JADENkOTOR - June 30, 2010 6:10 p.m.

    Im buying one just to have it... they don't need to convince me with they're hardcore promises. Cool shit will eventually be done with Kinect and the idea of playing Minority Report with my television is enough for now. Me being someone who wishes they were born 500 years in the future, this is too cool to pass up. I also still want a fucking hover-board that Marty McFly promised me so many years ago. I hope MS is working on that.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - June 30, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    Sadly, this won't happen. Microsoft is becoming nintendo, Nintendo is becoming Sony, and Sony is becoming Microsoft. Sigh...
  • myguyfromthe80s - June 30, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    @Spunkweazle Those people already own a console known as the Nintendo Wii. I can't see many 'casual' gamer spending monies on an addon - or worst, buying a new console to wave their arms around (again) Recaptcha: is plantain
  • Spunkweazle - June 30, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    But Microsoft isnt aiming this at the hardcore, they have made that abunduntly clear. They are aiming Kinect squarely at the people who dont buy games. Am I the only person to see the flaw in this logic
  • BillyBrush - June 30, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    'Tetsuya Mizuguchi is already bringing Child of Eden, which looks to all intents and purposes like a trippier, trancier, fully-current-gen Rez 2.' Given rez was initially called Project Eden, yes, for all intents and purposes it is. The thing about gaming, and media (your site is fantastic btw and Edge my favourite games mag ever)...is that that's a bit of text right there in the middle of a big article that people will get the general negative gist of, but not spot the diamond in the rough, there are less 'hardcore gamers' in reality than we all assume, it's 'massmarket' that they want to hit...most gamers are not hardcore, they've not just tried dark or pixel on the indie channel...they've played call of duty. I agree that 'shooters' and 'arcade racers' would sell the device to a big chunk of the masses, probably not augmented rpg's though, (but i suspect someone will try that with FPS weapons sometime). The thing looks like it will flop, the thing has Rez2 controlled with your hands, therefore it is a true 'hardcore' dream, as were many of the biggest gaming flops of the past. Dreamcast didn't do so well, but there are some games i can think of (one mega budget flop in particular with a sequel) that many people hold dear.....perhaps they're all loons..i don't care, i'll get Eden. Buying a peice of tech and only ever playing one thing on it, that my friend is hardcore. All these people, did they play samba di amigo...nope...was it good...
  • myguyfromthe80s - June 30, 2010 2:13 p.m.

    @db1331 HAHAHAHA - Couldn't have put it better myself A famous phrase springs to mind: "Those who ignore history, are condemmed to repeat it"
  • db1331 - June 30, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    You are 100% correct Dave, but little to none of this will happen. This is like making an article called "What Rosie O'donnell Needs to look Attractive to Men" and then saying she needs to lose 150lbs, have her vocal chords removed, and stop being butch. It's just not gonna happen.

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