Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Kinect. Should you believe the hype?

When I first heard of Kinect I was definitely intrigued by it, instead of simply copying and pasting Nintendo's Wii success with Motion Controls they opted for some new technology that showed some good potential.

Yet post-release, after checking out several video's, reviews, write-ups, etc etc... It seems that at the moment the Minority Report controls are the only reason to own it...but that doesn't justify the cost for me.

This is coming from someone who is a very open-minded gamer too. I play a whole bunch of games from what's considered 'hardcore' to 'party games', and I'm not shy about it either. So please don't take me as one of those close minded "motion controls...f*** that" type of people. A game like "Kinect Adventures" I reckon I'd get a kick out of (providing it is more fun than frustration to play).

I came across THIS interview on Eurogamer the other day (that although quite long, is worth reading). After reading that it seems clear that Kinect is before it's time. The motion tracking camera itself has a weak resolution, and thus this is definitely going to limit it's ability to keep up with games that require precise inputs. More importantly, this means the precision Microsoft led us all to believe Kinect had...it doesn't have.

Some games have already acknowledged this issue.

For example...
"Joyride" basically has you on training wheels so you can't be THAT bad at the game.

Sonic Free Riders is an example of a game that gives you no assistance and leaves you too it, and [Click Here] if you're interested to see how that went :\

Kinect as it stands doesn't look like it will be able to give you the 1:1 control for a more serious game. Especially since they took out the extra processing power that was once in it during the development stage (to keep the cost down). Another issue with this is that Kinect is controller free. It was speculated pre-launch that there could be hands free FPS games with Kinect, but any that did it would have to be 'dumbed down' drastically.

With the Wii and now also Move...those FPS games are about replicating real life aiming and shooting, with perhaps a few gestures thrown in to simulate a re-load or grenade throw etc, you still do all the moving around in game with an analogue stick, as that method is still very much king when it comes to in-game character movement. I'm getting the impression anything on Kinect is going to have to put your character movement 'on-rails', and if a controller was to be used along with Kinect, then that will mean losing the freedom to do things with either 1 or both your hands, and having your hands free is integral to what Kinect uses to differentiate itself from Wii and Move.

Still, the limitations of Kinect aside, I will be picking up Kinect at some point as I like to be able to try new things like this out for myself, it's just a case of fingers crossed that game developers find ways of utilising the peripheral for fun, and keeping the product alive.

Kinect is still somewhat new to developers, and things may improve a bit once smaller developers are able to release some quick XBLA/ indie game type stuff that use it. It's my personal opinion that if and when you can download things via Xbox Live Arcade that use Kinect, you can then potentially get some quick fun games that use it without making you take the risk of spending £40 on a full fledged game, and generally the sort of games you'd enjoy playing using Kinect are shorter attention span type games (which Xbox Live Arcade embraces).

My Final thoughts:
  • Early Kinect adopters, it's a case of hoping the product you (and 2.5 million others) have backed will get the support and creativity it needs to go the distance.

  • Those on the fence, make that seat as comfy as possible, and give it a few more months to see what games get announced, and keep your eyes on the reviews the release games get.

  • Those whom hate motion controls, yet read this article. Try opening your mind, you might find yourself having some fun outside of the latest Fifa and Call of Duty >_>.

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