Kinect Goes Hardcore… Kinda

Microsoft has announced a voice control feature for its Kinect motion control system in an apparent attempt to appeal to serious gamers.

Speaking at the E3 expo in Los Angeles, the company revealed that Kinect will be supported by several upcoming games aimed more at traditional players than the casual audience targeted in the initial Kinect launch — the Wii generation as it were.

The voice control will feature in Mass Effect 3, where players will be able to give commands to crew-mates via voice commands rather than making a menu selection. It sounds similar to the online multiplayer experience of many games, albeit it with Kinect unlikely to respond to racial slurs or l33t-speak.

The voice control will also be built into the main XBox menus, for example allowing users to search for media content by speech commands.

The motion control elements of Kinect will also feature in more hardcore games. For example Ghost Recon, the next installment in the Tom Clancy series, will allow players to dismantle, adjust and fire weapons using their hands. A demonstration of the technology earned a mixed review, with several attendees noting that the firing control (aim with one hand, unclench the other to fire) not only lacked the accuracy of using a controller, but didn’t bring much psychological benefit as it didn’t resemble the physical actions of firing a gun.

Kinect is also being built into several of the EA Sports franchises, including FIFA, NFL and PGA Tour. It’s hard to see the motion control working effectively in the ball games, though it might be suitable for conversions in NFL or penalty kicks in FIFA. The golf game, where the entire experience is based around specific physical movement, might be more suited to motion control, though the lack of a physical controller could make it trickier.

Despite the renewed emphasis on hardcore gamers, Microsoft certainly isn’t abandoning the family audience: it unveiled Kinect games based around Disney characters and Sesame Street. Indeed, one disgruntled reporter described 2011-2012 as “the best 12 months on Xbox 360 for eight year-old girls.”

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8 Responses to Kinect Goes Hardcore… Kinda

  1. games like Ghost Recon REALLY need a prop weapon.  You need to hold something.  Add to the fact that accuracy increases if you have an IR point at the tip of the weapon that denotes location and firing and you have a winner.  But of course that is another thing you need to buy to play the game….sadly.  But I would

  2. Damn, though I don't really think it's really useful and convinient, since it's really hard to replace the sense of real joystick/mouse/keyboard grip, but as concept it's a big breakthrough

    • Didn't we make failed machines for human flight lonnnng before we were successful?

      Just because something failed once always will; mainly because
      "something" is actually a whole new technology another time around.

  3. What game developers simply don't seem to understand is that it makes no sense to implement voice control for things where conventional control is much more convenient. I would never in my life think of using voice control to select dialogue options in Mass Effect 3, where I simply can click or press a button. If there was some function for which I would need to navigate through many submenus to reach it, than it would make sense. The problem here, though, is that it makes no sense to implement such a function in the first place, as everything should be easily accessible. So in conclusion it can just be said, that voice control just (imho) not suited for video games.

  4. Voice commands were already utilised in Tom Clancy games such as both previous Ghost Recon games and both Rainbow Six games, as well as the aforementioned Endwar.  I enjoyed playing Rainbow Six by using voice commands to instruct the NPCs but it was a bit iffy at times.  This excites me.

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