With the upcoming Xbox One release this fall, Kinect 2.0 has been getting a lot of attention, both good and bad. Although I’m impressed with the technology (lower latency and higher resolution), I still have yet to see a proper use of it as a game controller:
This is quite an impressive video, right up to the part where the IGN editor has to steer the jet ski with his hands. The problem is that developers are still looking at the Kinect as a controller replacement – it isn’t. Nobody wants to stand with their arms outstretched for 5-10 minutes at a time. Exercise is good, yes – but unnecessary fatigue just for the sake of using this neat, new technology isn’t. Traditional game controllers are perfectly suitable for steering a watercraft or car without needlessly tiring the player out after a few minutes.
What game developers should be doing is looking at what can’t be done well with current game pads and joysticks. Sports games like baseball are a no brainer, because the variation in each swing would make for a much more dynamic and immersive experience. Kinect can very easily calculate all of these complex variables such as position, speed, and angle – that’s what it is designed to do! How about an axe swinging simulation to chop down a tree? Or a fencing game? Wielding weapons and manipulating tools could be great fun with the Kinect. As soon as developers stop trying to use it to replace every aspect of traditional gameplay, and start coming up with some new, outside-the-box ideas, the sooner players will start seeing motion control as anything more than a gimmick.
EDIT: Now this is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been waiting for Kinect to try to pull off: The Fighter Within