I have a problem when it comes to people, ideas and many new things: I see and fixate on the potential of them; not necessarily of the reality where they may be in the present. Take Kinect for example. During its publicised development and eventual release, I always knew it was going to sell well and that it would be taken more seriously than PlayStation’s Move equivalent.
How did I know? It’s simple, really. To date, motion-control gaming technology has been aimed at the neo-casual gamer: that is to say, the casual gamer that didn’t even consider themselves a gamer before mobile gaming and Über-accessible motion-controlled technology came along (hell, they still may not consider themselves gamers). They’re a part of the reason the Wii sold so well, and the group I was counting on to make Kinect a success. While Sony focused on a more accurate version of the Wii’s motion-controller principles, Microsoft focused on controller-less technology; the ‘You are the controller’ mantra reading like more than a subtle diss to Sony and Nintendo.
There’s one glaring problem with Kinect at the moment, though. Clever fitness games notwithstanding, it hasn’t really been showcased in way that makes sense or takes advantage of its potential. You’re more likely to find clever PC-minded folk doing cool things with Kinect in their homes than see or even hear about the release of a Kinect-powered game targeted at core or hardcore gamers.
Sure, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Mass Effect 3 did some cool supplementary things with the technology, but they didn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense in terms of being an essential reason to own Kinect. With Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor’s Kinect integration, though, hard/core Kinect owners may just have a reason to blow dust off their devices.
First and foremost, Steel Battalion is a sci-fi sim for the Xbox 360. And while sims don’t make a whole lot of sense outside of the PC, I’m still looking forward to taking Birds of Steel—the latest World War II flight sim from Gaijin Entertainment—for a spin sometime over the long weekend. Sims can work on consoles, to a certain extent and, if this Steel Battalion trailer is anything to go by, they can be complemented by Kinect’s gesture-based technology.
As far as I’m concerned, this is a step in the right direction for Kinect, and I hope other developers follow suit in using logical integration. After all, if it doesn’t make sense to use Kinect in a game, it’s always going to feel tacked on.
Is this video enough to convince you to blow the dust off your Kinect unit, or purchase one if you don’t own it already?