Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3: Stop bullying Kinect... It's not its fault it's different

As the dust settles on Microsoft's E3 event, media outlets and gamers alike are seemingly aghast at the price announcement. Certainly it places the Xbox One in the realms of a premium bit of kit and every bit as much of an investment as the PS3 when it launched. Many critics point directly to the new look Kinect as the culprit - the elephant in the room that they suggest is single highhandedly responsible for the high price point.

Ever since Kinect's inception in June 2009, there have been so-called hardcore gamers baying for blood. At the heart of all that vitriol, their central argument is the behemoth that is Microsoft is dumbing down their beloved console by daring to suggest that families, youngsters or a  'casual' audience might dare to enjoy gaming too.

Even now, several years since its launch, Kinect - the peripheral formerly known as Natal - gets its fair share of criticism. Much of it may be justified... we all know about the accuracy issues, lag and weak games lineup.

Granted it was a big beast to have sitting atop your TV, and the room space required was a little limiting. And not to mention the fact it cost a small fortune - almost as much as the console itself! There are also issues with its sensitivity, lag and how can be successfully integrated into mainstream games...

But take a step back good people and consider this - it's a damn clever bit of kit and has huge potential. So much so that Microsoft has placed it firmly at the centre of its new console and painstakingly addressed each and every one of the issues that dogged the original.

Why do we always hate things that try something new? Why are we so scared of change? If you're a Kinect hater, it shouldn't detract from your love of gaming - why would it?

The newer version needs a smaller playspace, can pick up more players at once, identifies you and signs you in, boasts better voice control... it can even see you in the dark and calculate your heart rate for God's sake! Sure, it's always got to be on - a little worrying even for the less privacy conscious among us - and nothing will function without it but why such uproar?

I say calm down and stop the complaining. The majority of hardware systems have their teething problems and duff games - but you've got to admit that the capabilities of this new gizmo are pretty astounding.

This would be a very boring world without change and innovation. Think how boring it would be if popular games were just rehashed and repackaged each year (oh, wait!). And where would we be without innovations like the NES Power Glove, eh?

Hardware is just as important as a new gaming franchise... the chances are it won't live up to expectations at first but those problems will no doubt be ironed out pretty fast. Chill out people and embrace the motion-controlled future! Kinect is here to stay.

Rant over.


What happens when the Kinect breaks, will I still be able to use the Xbox One? I'm all for trying new things, I've purchased both the PS Move and Original Kinect but my kids broke both the eye and the Kinect. Not a big problem since the consoles work regardless. My biggest uproar with the new Kinect is the mere fact that it's mandatory for the system to work. Well if it breaks do I have to shell out another 100 just to play the Xbox One? HUGE deal.

Good article, excellent points.

The issue (as identified) is the assumption that everyone wants kinect in the box. Such is the difficulty of wooing both the 'casual' and the 'hardcore' demographics. I understand microsoft wanted to make kinect 2 the heart of the new xbox and, whilst the tech is great, those who don't want it (myself included) will simply buy a ps4 to play the same games. Why force it to be such a dealbreaker for people?