Having had the past 4 days of nothing to do but solely play Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures I have come to the conclusion that the Kinect has real potential. I also came to the conclusion that you do not know pain until you have played for over 15 hours in a 4 day period. The Wii has nothing on the Kinect in terms of muscle strains, movement, or sweat.
That being said there is still a very foggy road ahead of the Kinect that will either put it in the same category of the Wii where it is cool technology but has no support from the gaming/developing community or it will be put on a new pedestal that will be met with praise and devotion from fans and developers.
To get there though I have 3 suggestions that I feel are key for Microsoft to hit on in order to ride this hype train up the mountain.
1. MORE INTERFACE OPTIONS
Now all last week myths and potential problems have been debunked all over the internet. By this I mean things like dark skin being hard to recognize, people walking by,etc. I haven’t run into any problems as of yet and the features they offer to the Xbox in general work flawlessly.
That being said the features are limited still for example I love how fast and easy it is to say “Xbox”,”Kinect” which opens up the Kinect version of the dashboard and then you can choose any of the things you see like ESPN,Play Disc,etc. by just saying it. Unfortunately the Kinect hub has only about 8 options and I would love to be able to use the same voice commands navigating through my dashboard in its entirety over just a small portion of it.
That is why I think full voice integration would make it even more futuristic. A more major concern for me though is that Netflix needs to keep on updating with Microsoft to add the same functionality to the Netflix application for the 360. I love Netflix with a passion on my Xbox so if I could lay in my room at night watching episodes of Dexter and being able to navigate through my Queue or choose an episode all with my hand and not have to pick my controller up and turn it on to do all of it.
That might just be me being lazy but technically I guess it is a little more exercise.
2. EA SPORTS SUPPORT
EA is embracing Kinect with the new Harry Potter game and even offering graphics on par with the best games for a Kinect game. That is a good start but there is one thing that Kinect needs from EA and that is some well developed and accurate sports titles or at least Kinect game modes inside of their already successful sports franchises.
In Kinect Sports for example they have a soccer game that I am pretty hooked on. Its amazing to me because although I am doing no running it is a very fast paced game of passing around defenders 1 on 1 and then aiming kicks at the net. It is challenging and pretty damn accurate.
I know that EA can build on this with things like building on FIFA 11′s brand new goalkeeper mode by allowing you to truly play it or in Madden’s superstar mode letting players enjoy a QB mode that allows you to play football games as your own NFL Quarterback running the offense, performing play actions, and hitting wider receivers in two minute drills to rally back with a win.
Just as two examples of what EA can do but I guess what I am saying is that if any developer is up to the challenge please get to the drawing board now and allow me to play sports from my living room in the cold of winter while staying toasty.
3. KINECT PRIME TIME PROGRAMMING
Rumors are whirling around about a beta going on for Xbox Live that allows players to play Poker against each other over Live. The game is supposedly in development from the team that brought us 1v100 to Xbox Live that was a huge hit and a lot of fun.
Now in a service that allows millions of players to interact with each other around the world why waste that opportunity to make a 5 player poker matches? Why not bring people together by offering the chance to play cooperatively against teams of other players?
By this I mean they should ride the game show type programming that was initially successful. Now one example of what they can do and I think could work beautifully would be having Family Feud come to Prime Time. The game would pit 5 player teams against each other in the regular show format.
Microsoft can even use the same voice technology meaning Kinect would be necessary to play (meaning $$$ for Microsoft) and you can combine with players over Xbox Live and even have a friend who is over take a spot on your team while sitting on the couch with you and combine forces with Xbox Live players to beat another opposing team in a survey show down.
They paid actors to act in commercials to pretend to play a buzz-in type game show as a family on the couch why not make good with that idea and impress people with revolutionary games.