Kinect: Can it make the breakthrough

Microsoft has dubbed Kinect as a new way of playing your Xbox 360 without a controller. It’s a controller-free gaming experience; an innovative experience that allows the user to play video games without having to touch a controller. Or…Kinect may be a huge bandwagon for Microsoft to leap on to appeal to the more family-oriented casual gamer. And it might even be a way to dumb down video games…without a controller.

Does the game industry ever learn? History may be good and dead but it can help the future from killing itself. We have been bombarded tirelessly with these ways of revolutionising the way we game, but I don’t think I stand alone when I say that I don’t care about the revolutionising of game consoles as much as I do about the revolutionising of video games. We have had it all: dance mats that can’t keep up; a football mat to make you feel like you’re on the pitch that only resulted with me kicking the Xbox; the Eye Toy. *Gasp* Need I suggest more?

Kinect’s biggest downfall is not its novelty, but rather its marketing. This is an item that I believe will not be appreciated by hardcore gamers and is too expensive for casual gamers. The bundle including a 4GB Xbox 360 slim, Kinect, and Kinect Adventures with one controller is priced the same price as the Halo Reach bundle, which includes a 250GB Xbox 360 slim, two controllers, an Xbox Live headset, and the most anticipated game of the year. Now, I will admit to being a novelty hunter. I’ve got collector’s editions of games such as Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4, and the accessories were so useful I kept them in my shed. What bothers me is the direction Microsoft seems to be taking the Xbox 360 in.

Microsoft recently defended the price of the Kinect bundle by comparing it to the price of the Wii as well as the PlayStation Move and all of their components, almost implying that anything the competition could do, Microsoft could do better. However, it really just seems to me as if they’re doing the same.

I was always under the impression that I played games to relax and have fun. I don’t want to break into a sweat when I’m playing Tony Hawk. I don’t want to pretend I’m driving a wheel while playing Gran Turismo. If anything, I feel we are going backwards. I remember playing Colin McCrae with a peripheral wheel and pedals which felt a hell of a lot more realistic when compared to simply holding your hands up in front of you and looking like you’re playing thumb wars with yourself.

On the one hand, Kinect does look like an extremely innovative piece of technology riddled with ten minute bursts of fun. But on the other hand, is this breakthrough in technology a breakthrough for gaming?

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