Can Microsoft Kinect With Gamers?

Connect with Kinect
As we all know, Microsoft held a large scale press extravaganza last night to showcase their new “Kinect” peripheral. What we’ve known as Project Natal hasn’t changed much with this new name, but there are some key factors in all of this that still need to be announced before I can see myself proudly displaying it under my TV.

I’ve been up all night attempting to write this article, until one specific line hit me while talking with Jamie about it: The price of novelty. The price of novelty is a simple rule about how much you are willing to spend on a device, for the length of time you think having it will be interesting. My hesitation in writing anything quite yet is the lack of a price point. Sure there have been rumors floating around, but nothing set in stone, and no prices that yet sound very appealing to me. What I’m left with is wondering how long will I, as a gamer, be able to enjoy the novelty of the Kinect?


Connect with Kinect
First, let’s get one thing straight: I believe the Kinect is not for gamers. The Kinect is like Microsoft’s DSi XL. Sure gamers can game on it, but it’s (so far) been advertised solely to the general public, to the soccer moms, the… essentially anyone who owns a Wii and not a copy of Metroid Prime, Monster Hunter, or No More Heroes. But the Wii had charm – Nintendo seems to ooze it naturally like the the Disney of the gaming world, and they know how to encourage fun.

As I watched videos of the Microsoft Kinect event, I cringed, suffice to say I had the same reaction as a lot of people. Microsoft is essentially hyping Kinetic the same way Nintendo did the Wii, but there’s a strong sense that the magic is gone. Microsoft has essentially taken the whimsy out of it, trying to sneak into the casual gamers’ home while copying the Wii’s every move.

Following the trend seems like the biggest flaw in this entire scheme. How does Microsoft expect to sell mass units on a piece of technology the general public already has?

Sure, technologically speaking, the Kinect is a meatier device, capable of many more things then a WiiMote will ever be able to do. But will the average person be able to notice those differences, let alone drop the money on it?

What if the novelty has worn off? From personal experience, most of the families I know who have Wiis have left the remotes to collect dust, only taking them off the shelf when family or friends are over. The novelty is obviously gone for them, save for those sparing moments. Will they be likely to buy a whole new system only to experience the same results?

So that leads us back to the more invested core gamer. I assume most will take the same stance I’m trying to get at. It really comes down to how long you think you will enjoy having a Kinect. The Minority Report-esque way of controlling the dashboard and media functions certainly have me giddy, but is that worth the rumored $150 to $200 dollars?

I certainly don’t think so, but what about the games on top? Surely Kinect Sports and Kinectamals along with the futuristic controls will get me to buy one, right? While owning a virtual tiger is an awesome thought, it’s still not justifying the potential price tag for me.

Do I think gamers want a Kinect? I sure do, but it comes down to that novelty effect; how long do you think you will play with what’s available? How much are you willing to pay for that amount of time?

In a few short, agonizing hours, Microsoft will hopefully be set and ready to give us a full price point, and with that magical number, they will instantly make up the minds of millions of gamers everywhere including mine.

I would love to see some truly innovative, and well thought out original games for the Kinect. I honestly believe that technology is capable of many great things, but it’s up to the game companies to make those great things for it, and if that happens, I absolutely can’t wait to try those games out.

It’s up to Microsoft now to prove they can deliver.

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  • EdEN

    Not having an actual controller to interact with the Kinect camera is a huuuuuuuuuge mistake on Microsoft’s side. After seeing some of the Kinect videos, all of them are standing up and that is NOT the case with Wii games since you can play all of them sitting down or even lying on bed.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/ujnhunter Ujn Hunter

    I don’t think gamers will find very much appeal with this Kinect. I might have overheard “someone” say they can’t wait to stroke their virtual monkey however…