Microsoft's answer to the motion sensor war has been a serious game changer. Playing games in the comfort of your own home without having to pick up a controller? It could be genius, but here's what we think:
The Kinect is the only device that allows the player to use the console without requiring a controller. Since the Kinect is the controller for both player 1 and an optional player 2, there's no need to worry about wires or batteries or any other problems associated with traditional controllers.
It also means that the players don't have to continue to hold onto a controller like with the Nintendo Wii or Sony Move. The camera actually senses the location and movement of a player's limbs and body, not the location of the controller.
Unfortunately for cheaters, that also means you can't just move the controller and trick the console into thinking you're moving quickly. You actually have to attempt to do the actions required. But in the end, isn't that the idea?
While not many games and applications currently use Kinect's voice recognition capabilities, but from what we've seen at E3 2011 that number is growing. Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360's new ability to control most of the menu interface through simple voice commands. We expect more future applications and games to begin using the voice recognition technology.
The Kinect lineup unveiled at E3 was very impressive. From Fable: The Journey to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, the true potential of Kinect is just finally being touched. These two games will hopefully signal a new era of Kinect games targeted for hardcore gamers.
The combined motion sensing and voice control could lead to huge possibilities. Ever seen Minority Report? I'm talking about something the equivalent of the computer Tom Cruise's character used in that movie. Maybe not with the accompanying holograms, but something very close.
And we've already seen things like that in action. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has already shown how the combination of voice control and motion detection can be used to great effect. We can only imagine what will happen in the near future.
While the games on the "to be released" list do look impressive, the current list of games is extremely small. While games like Dance Central may be popular, the audience for games like Kinectimals seems a bit limited. Compare the number of Kinect compatible games with the number of Move compatible games and you'll see a serious discrepancy.
The Kinect has some serious hardware issues as well. The lack of a built-in processor means that the game will take time to process the player's movements and translate that into the game. There have been some games that have tried to decrease this time, but none have yet to do it effectively. As a result, it is nearly impossible for many of the popular hardcore games to work with the Kinect.
Another, more obvious reason for the lack of hardcore games is the lack of a traditional controller. Motion detection is great for games like Kinect Sports or Dance Central, but moving in a 3D environment is near impossible with no traditional controller. Until someone figures out a way to rectify this issue, there will continue to be few hardcore games compatible with the Kinect.
The camera for Kinect requires a lot of free, clear space to use. This means that unless you have a somewhat large room for people to jump around in, you're going to feel extremely cramped when using the Kinect. And are you planning to play with two people at the same time? Good luck not bumping into each other.
The current version of the Kinect camera is only able to recognize limbs, not fingers. While this may not seem like a huge issue, it means that the Kinect can't tell if you put an arm in front of you or behind you. It's quite amusing to put your arms behind your body and see how the characters on the Kinect react. It also means that the "finger" sensing apps that were showcased at E3 are either using new software or some trick to sense fingers.