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 (clickright herefor 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 asthe full tech run-down for you all to chin-strokingly pretend to understand,here you can findyou can find my ideas of what Kinect really needs to bring if it's going to convince the core. So readon. 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

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 ifthe 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 playthese gameswith controllers, so we need this device to convince us in and of itself. I reckon we need the following...

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.