It’s really hard to be excited about Kinect these days.
I’m a Microsoft fan through and through. I’ve owned their consoles for years and I’m comfortable with my Xbox and its exclusive franchises. I’ve been attacked for this before but I’m really not a fan boy. If I had disposable income, I would definitely pick up a PS3. I also certainly love me some good old fashion Halo.
I genuinely want to like Kinect. I think the tech has amazing potential and that it’s one of the greatest peripherals to come to gaming in years. I always assumed it would just take time for decent games to be developed for it. Developers needed to get used to this crazy new technology and in time awesome games would start dropping left and right.
It’s been almost 2 years since Kinect was announced and we’ve yet to see a game that actually qualifies as a game. Sure, Kinect Sports is awesome and a lot of fun but it’s not a particularly deep experience. Like the Wii game it blatantly rips off (Wii Sports), it’s a glorified tech demo that shows off how cool Kinect could be someday. The only other title to look forward to is Garden of Eden and even then I’m personally not very interested in it. It’s just not my kind of game.
This brings me to the main point of this week’s Gamer Woes and why I was disappointed with Microsoft’s E3 presentation. I really wanted to see great Kinect games this year. I’ve been telling everyone I know that there would be amazing Kinect related announcements at the event ; that we would finally see the epic games a lot of hardcore gamers have envisioned in their minds since Kinect was first announced. Did we see anything like that? Definitely not.
We did get to see some potentially decent core games for Kinect, the awkward looking Ghost Recon Future Soldier and the seemingly on rails Kinect Starwars. Both of these titles could be great; who knows really? But from what I saw during Microsoft’s E3 presentation, both titles didn’t really look all that impressive (especially Ghost Recon, I can seriously not see myself playing a first person shooter like that). They didn’t even look like actual games and games are what Kinect needs right now. It’s been a year, it’s time to get passed the tech demo bullshit and release actual deep experiences for the device.
We also got a sneak peak at Ryse, possibly the only decent looking Kinect title at the show. It looks spectacular but all anyone has seen of it is that short little CG trailer shown during Microsoft’s conference. Will it turn out to be another Milo? Now that Duke Nukem is actually out, Milo is the new king of vapourware. Did a single major video game news outlet ask Peter Molyneux where the hell that game actually is? I’ve neither seen nor heard anything about this messianic title in almost over a year.
Integration of Kinect into core titles like Mass Effect 3 and Forza 4 is great but what I want are real games and Microsoft certainly didn’t deliver that to me this year. They dangled another carrot in front of us in the form of Kinect Labs – sort of saying, “look Kinect still has potential to grow, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.” Kinect Labs is cool; it’s a nice nod to the homebrew community and all the amazing games it’s been creating on the PC with Kinect. But these lab mini games really have no purpose other than to show off the Kinect hardware. You can’t scan items for your avatar to hold on the main dashboard and you also can’t even use your expertly crafted real life avatar on your actual Xbox Live account.
Instead of deep gameplay experiences, we got a strange looking Sesame Street game for children and an on rails terrible Fable first person shooter dubbed Fable: The Journey. I know Molyneux has stated that the game really isn’t on rails but at this point I really don’t believe him. Even if it isn’t, the game still looked absolutely terrible. It’s definitely a journey I have absolutely no interest in taking.
It’s time for Microsoft to push developers; heck they could even take on the job themselves with their own first party studios (Kinect is their device after all) to create some real games. No more glorified mini games, no more tech demos – I want real games that don’t suck.
This brings me to my final point. Maybe we have all been misled and Kinect isn’t capable of offering up a deep gaming experience – were those Sony commercials correct? Is the fact that Kinect doesn’t actually have any physical buttons hindering its ability to give us games that aren’t terrible? I think if we were going to see something spectacular, we would have by now. I mean it’s been 2 years. New consoles are predicted to be announced next year at E3. They’re running out of time. I think perhaps I’m slowly realizing my expectations for Kinect are quite unrealistic. Prove me wrong Kinect, please.
All I can say is I’m certainly glad I picked mine up of for $40 dollars. I bought it hoping to see something spectacular at E3 this year. I didn’t and now I sit here wondering when I’ll actually want to use my Kinect for something other than the occasional game of Kinect Sports. Maybe for Mass Effect 3 I guess, but other than that I really haven’t seen a single upcoming game for the device that I’d actually play.
Oh, Fruit Ninja…I forgot about that one. It looks quite awesome; I’ll probably end up downloading it. Kinect Sports 2 also actually looks pretty cool. Neither game is what I want from Kinect right now though. It’s time to get passed the mini game tech demo stage and give us gamers actual games.
Let us know what you think in the comments section. Do you still have faith in Kinect or is it nothing more than a paper weight for you at this point?