In case you were under any illusion about whether the Xbox 360 Kinect motion control system was being aimed at a mainstream, casual gaming, dare-I-say-Wii audience, Microsoft has scored what many US publicity seekers consider the jackpot: an appearance on Oprah.
It’s also unveiled the 17 games that will appear at or imminently after launch: with one notable exception, they are all family fare.
The Oprah appearance is scheduled for today, alongside reality show singer Susan Boyle and a 10-year-old runner up from America’s Got Talent. Hardcore gaming fare this is not. By all accounts the segment is likely to be more along the lines of Winfrey trying out the Kinect controller than Microsoft publicists getting a grilling over consumer law and the red ring of death. There’s also an appearance on Ellen De Generes’ show in the works.
As for the games, they fall into four main categories:
Family: Kinect Adventures (action game set in space/mountains/rivers/underwater – pictured), Kinectimals (imagine Nintendogs with bigger animals and more stroking), Game Party (everything from darts to table hockey) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow (waggle that wand)
Exercise: Your Shape, Dance Central, The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout, DanceMasters, EA Sports Active 2, Zumba Fitness. In other words, choose your motivation for shaking your booty, then shake away.
Sports: Kinect Sports, MotionSports and Deca Sports Freedom. (The latter features dodgeball, which is surely crying out for a vibration feature.)
Adrenalin: Kinect Joy Ride is a kart racing game, while Sonic Free Riders and Adrenalin Misfits are both variants on hoverboards (which will be here for real in five years and two days.) Fighters Uncaged appears to lie somewhere between modern mixed martial arts and the underground mystique of Jean Claude Van Damme movies and, if nothing else, certainly stands out as the one game you probably shouldn’t be buying your pre-teen relatives for Christmas.