Is the Kinect just a gimmick?

Once again, Microsoft’s latest console came with a version of the Kinect. And once again that version of Kinect has slowly been phased out by Microsoft. Games aren’t really being developed for it and support for it on the dashboard itself is starting to dwindle – Microsoft are slowly making it easier to use the UI without the need for a Kinect. At the beginning, I was using the Kinect a lot to control my Xbox One, but my enthusiasm slowly wavered; particularly after the Kinect broke and I learnt to live without it. Will Microsoft start to give more support to the Kinect, and introduce more Kinect based games (other than the usual suspects of Kinect Sports, fruit ninja style titles and the dancing games). Or will they let it die a death, as they continue to develop and perfect the HoloLens?

I really enjoyed the original Kinect, and I remember seeing the potential in that device. The sports games were fun, but that’s the only game that I truly enjoyed. The new Kinect started quite well, with their updated version of Kinect Sports, but since then very little has come around to convince me of the Kinect’s merits. Fighter Within was a release title with Kinect integration, but that was pretty shocking. It kind of set the tone for Kinect based games this generation, much like Fighters Uncaged did on the Xbox 360. Even as a tool to aid the UI, it’s not exactly worth the money you pay for it. At times it can be quite clunky, and occasionally I found myself using it for the sake of using it, rather than to improve my experience of using my Xbox One.

It makes me wonder whether Microsoft will be supporting the Kinect out of this generation. Will the Xbox Two have a Kinect? I very much doubt it, but if it does I’d imagine it’ll be part of a wider HoloLens experience. No, I think that the relative failure of this updated Kinect has shown that this sort of tech was more of a stepping stone toward greater things. VR and AR are the new kids in town and devices like the Kinect will be a part of those technologies – rather than the technologies themselves.

Whilst this Kinect might not have been as good as we’d hoped, I think that calling it a gimmick would be a tad mean. I feel that tech like the Kinect, or the Wii, or even the EyeToy, were stepping stones for developments toward greater things. They laid the foundation for Virtual Reality, and showed that these sorts of technologies can be more than just gimmicks… even if they do feel a little gimmicky now. Perhaps it’s more of a statement about how far we’ve come, that the Kinect will soon be obsolete, when just five or so years ago it was almost at the pinnacle of gaming tech.

What do you think? Do you believe that the Kinect has a future, or do you think it’s had its last on the Xbox One? Let me know in the comments below!

  • VenomSnake421

    Too late for an article like this, its not 2010.

    • Not sure if I totally agree. As the Kinect was revamped and remodelled for the Xbox One in 2013, and since then we’ve seen the tech slip into obscurity (as Microsoft started selling bundles without the Kinect included).

      Though I am a tad biased, as I did write the article…

  • VenomSnake421

    Too late for an article like this, its not 2010.

    • Not sure if I totally agree. As the Kinect was revamped and remodelled for the Xbox One in 2013, and since then we’ve seen the tech slip into obscurity (as Microsoft started selling bundles without the Kinect included).

      Though I am a tad biased, as I did write the article…

  • Brandon

    I believe that in its current incarnation, it is finished. There’s just not a compelling reason to own one. If Microsoft wants such a peripheral to work, it has to be almost integral to the entire console experience, much as the Wii Remote was with the Wii. Had the Wii had a more traditional controller with the Wii Remote as an add-on, I suspect it would have experienced a fate similar to that of Kinect.

    I suspect you’re correct in that the next version of Kinect will be much more advanced and convey a much deeper experience…assuming it even survives to see a new generation.

    • Completely agree. Had they decided to make it integral to the console, I would imagine that a lot of people would have been put off by it. I think it was smart to leave it as an extra – even if it has caused the techs demise, in a way.

      I could see the potential of a Kinect / HoloLens joint experience, but I’d imagine you’d need a lot of room for that to be viable. In my head I’m picturing an FPS, with the HoloLens projecting multiple enemies in the room in front of you, and the Kinect picking up your body movements to dispatch those enemies – who knows!

  • Brandon

    I believe that in its current incarnation, it is finished. There’s just not a compelling reason to own one. If Microsoft wants such a peripheral to work, it has to be almost integral to the entire console experience, much as the Wii Remote was with the Wii. Had the Wii had a more traditional controller with the Wii Remote as an add-on, I suspect it would have experienced a fate similar to that of Kinect.

    I suspect you’re correct in that the next version of Kinect will be much more advanced and convey a much deeper experience…assuming it even survives to see a new generation.

    • Completely agree. Had they decided to make it integral to the console, I would imagine that a lot of people would have been put off by it. I think it was smart to leave it as an extra – even if it has caused the techs demise, in a way.

      I could see the potential of a Kinect / HoloLens joint experience, but I’d imagine you’d need a lot of room for that to be viable. In my head I’m picturing an FPS, with the HoloLens projecting multiple enemies in the room in front of you, and the Kinect picking up your body movements to dispatch those enemies – who knows!

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