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
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
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
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...