As unfortunate as the PR job that Microsoft did at E3 was (by the way, they’ve since reversed course and have ), they did a great job by letting some folks in the media preview the new Xbox One Kinect (formerly known as the Kinect 2.0). Check out this video from Hit Me Back.
Clearly, the good folks in Redmond have been listening and have built some great improvements into the new generation of Kinect. Most of the things I’ve been complaining about on this blog, they seem to have addressed. Among other things:
- Choppy motion detection: The new Kinect will be three times more sensitive than the current one.
- Imprecise motion detection: The new Kinect has “brains” that will track your skeleton, even down to your individual fingers, and even be able to tell what muscles you’re putting pressure on. It’ll also be able to better detect tiny amounts of movement, as well as the force of, say, punches or kicks.
- Limited number of players: The new Kinect will be able to identify up to six separate individuals, which finally brings it up to the Wii (you still do need to figure out how to squeeze them into a camera frame, although a new wider field of view will help).
- Poor performance in low light rooms: Supposedly, the new Kinect will be able to detect you in a pitch black room using infared.
- Poor voice recognition: Granted, the demo was set up under perfect conditions, but the video shows a convincing demonstration of how the Kinect will filter out ambient noise.
One of the most interesting (and freakish) things they show in the demo is how the unit can tell your heart rate just by changes in your skin color (!) Now that’s precise.
It looks like Microsoft has upped the ante with this one. But the true test of whether it will succeed is if game developers also step up to the plate and really make use of this technology. If I see another silly game that tries to mimic button mashing using body movements (you know what I mean…”move your arm to the right”, “jump”, “duck”, “kick your left leg”) I’m going to go nuts. Hopefully game developers will start to really do what we’ve been talking about since this blog started: actual simulations of real sports and activities that use your real body motions in gameplay. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance in some games with the original Kinect: the ones that come to mind are Kung Fu High Impact, Adidas MiCoach (specifically, the sports simulation parts of it),