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Microsoft still wants you to not hate Kinect on Xbox One

by William Schwartz

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Despite being regarded as a commercial success for Microsoft and the Xbox 360, the Kinect really failed to capture the hearts of the core audience on the console. By core audience, I mean the guys and gals that are going out on day one to purchase the Xbox One. They’ll likely snap up the latest shooters, open-world games, and other traditional controller-based titles for that launch day experience of old. It’s not exactly the target demographic of the Kinect. If the first iteration of Kinect has proven anything, it’s that it doesn’t really work all that well as a traditional controller.

With Microsoft packing one in on every Xbox One, they’ve got a tough sell ahead of themselves. They can’t really sell people on the Kinect as a controller, because it’s proven in so many cases that it’s poor. Sure, that was a different version of the sensor, and the new one is likely leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, but people don’t remember that. They remember the time they tried to play Star Wars and ended up out money on a game that most people found either downright bad, or in some cases, unplayable.

It’s not just its performance that’s giving it a bad rap. The Kinect has also come under fire for privacy concerns, with Microsoft having to come out and defend the camera as a safe device to put in your living room. On the sell, Microsoft was at San Diego Comic Con in full force. An Xbox One panel at the conference talked in more detail about some of the new features of the all-new Kinect 2.0.

Details were cloudy about the Kinect and how it could recognize each player in the area. With the Xbox One controllers and the Kinect, passing a controller between players in the same room will automatically load player control profiles without pausing the game. The panel also divulged exactly how much more powerful the new sensor is. They claim that its resolution is ten times that of the Xbox 360 Kinect, and can track movement down to the finger. Another novel feature that was explained was an improvement of in-game face mapping. And while this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve something like being able to put your face in a video game, it’s explained as taking it to a whole other level, with the ability to map your real-time facial expressions on a character model as you are playing a game. Interesting stuff if it’s ever used in worthwhile ways, but whether or not this will make for better Kinect games is yet to be seen. They certainly haven’t shown anything truly ground breaking for the device, whether that be at E3 or Comic Con, as far as Kinect games go.

While you still may hate Kinect, and revel in disgust that Microsoft is effectively forcing you to own one if you want to own an Xbox One, at least they’re trying to show some of the applications that’ll differentiate the Xbox One from the competition.

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