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E3 2013: How the Kinect could supplement traditional controllers

by: Chuck -
More On: Kinect E3 2013 Xbox One
Microsoft held short instructional sessions during E3 this year to walk them through some of the new capabilities of the Xbox One.  They showed off some of what cloud computing could provide as well as a deeper dive into some of the new TV features but what interested me most was showing off how the new Kinect sensor could be used to supplement a traditional Xbox One controller.
Let's be honest, the Kinect doesn't have the best reputation within the core gaming community as the first sensor wasn't a great core gaming device.  From sensor lag  to strict the lighting  and room size requirements, the Kinect never found a place within the core community.  While it did well in the exercise and children's genres it never gained any real momentum with core gamers.
The new Kinect sensor is a significant upgrade in almost every way and Micorosoft had some of their engineers research some new ways that designers could use the new Kinect controller with some core gamers.  Here's a run down of what they came up with:
  • Raise their controller to raise a shield up
  • Touch the side of their head to toggle between different vision modes (like night/thermal vision)
  • Lean left or right to dodge incoming fire
  • Point on screen to direct fire from a secondary weapon
Keep in mind that these were tech demos in a controlled room but what I saw was fairly responsive and might not be too difficult to implement but even if they did work in a real environment I'm not sure any of these will gain any traction with core gamers.  Most gamers I know are loathe to take their hands off their controller and have enough movement ticks when they play that might be misinterpreted by the Kinect unit. 
That said I do think that the touching your head thing could be a cool and somewhat immersive use of the Kinect device.   We'll see if anyone takes these tech demos and embeds them into a game and if they do, hopefully they'll allow folks to disable them or Microsoft will see yet another wave of angry folks on social media.