E3 2011: Microsoft Ready Kinect’s Re-Launch

Kinect’s strong start, with the likes of the evergreen Dance Central and party favourite Kinect Sports, has waned somewhat since last year, with 2011 playing host to little more than a couple of bit parts and the odd fitness title.  The technology’s there, for sure, but the software support isn’t, seemingly rushed out for a busy launch but that shiny black camera rack has been left collecting dust for a good few months now.

[drop]Word is, though, is that that’s all about to change.  Whilst no-one really knows everything that the console manufacturers have lined up for E3 next month, there’s certainly room enough for a few guesses and in Microsoft’s case it’s almost certainly going to be based on Kinect – getting the system back in people’s faces and, more importantly, showing the world that they’re fully behind it with some killer games.  I mean, they have to, right?

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So what do we know?  Well, we know that there’s ten (or so) Kinect games lined up – that came from insider sources a few days back – and whilst we don’t know what those games are it’s safe enough to re-iterate that one of them will be based on Forza, apparently an open world title that will feature some element of Kinect control even if (we hope) the driving aspect still allows the use of a traditional control or wheel.

Kinect’s smart enough to work with head tracking and gestures without having to take over full control of the game – a Forza title which is enhanced with the tech rather than shoehorned in (like Joy Ride) could be really interesting, and the ‘open world’ concept should have legs away from the rather traditionally track-based genre.  We’re thinking something like Test Drive Unlimited, all avatar’d up, which has real potential.

What else?  Well, Kinect Sports 2 is almost a certainty, the first game was a blast and adding new events and tidying up the UI shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.  Likewise, expect Dance Central 2 to play a major part in Kinect’s line-up this year, and again don’t expect to see that one on your PlayStation 3 – for a few months anyway – Microsoft are surely going to ensure that Harmonix keep at least some exclusivity.

[drop2]There’s the unknowns, too – Kinect Fun Lab‘s one, there’s meant to be another Rare title, a Gears of War Kinect-based on-rails shooter and a roller coaster sim, along with a rack of Ubisoft titles that’ll include a new Rabbids game.  Oh, and Kinect Googly Eyes, which sounds like it might be right up our street.

Of course, non-Kinect games will feature too – Gears of War 3 will play a major part, but in terms of games we know little about, Crimson Alliance and three games that all start with a Fusion: prefix are almost certainly going to be mentioned during the press conference.  Expect Microsoft to talk up their introduction of Stereoscopic 3D, too, and everyone’s expecting to be blown away by a reveal of a remake of the original Halo and a rather more predictable update to Forza.

Hopefully there’ll be lots of games we can get our teeth into – the focus on Kinect might suit shareholders but Microsoft shouldn’t forget its core market, those that simply want to pick up a pad and play ‘core’ games.  We’ll be there, at the conference, so expect something fancy from us and (possibly) lots of moaning about having to stand around in a poncho.  Surely they won’t pull something like that again, right?

As for Sony and Nintendo?  We’ll come to them shortly.

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22 Comments

  1. Never been a fan of Kinect, or Move.

    • Neither was I until I had PS Move bought for me and I really enjoy playing the games with it :) I think it was the whole I can’t justify spending money on it that made me not interested but as a present it’s meant I can forget about that and just enjoy it :)

      • Move is excellent with the right game. I have recently bought Tumble and that is astounding. The accuracy of the controller, paired with the excellent physics of the game are just about perfect. A must for any Move owner, as is Top Darts and Hustle Kings.

      • Must say Tumble is a great MOVE game!

  2. “but that shiny black camera rack has been left collecting dust for a good few months now.”

    Hands up all those who are surprised?

    No?

    No-one?

  3. Before launch I was dubious about the hardware after the promises about how amazing it will be seemed to have gone drastically downhill. When it launched and I played Dance Central and read about the tech I was really impressed by the hardware and actually, conversely, surprised that the software implementation was so half-assed.
    Surely getting the hardware right is the hard part and they seem to have done that.

  4. “waving your arms around like a Jedi surely has to be top of the charts materia” I will buy one just for this

    • “You think you’re some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that?! I’m a Toydarian!”

  5. Are MGS Vancouver working on the on-rails Gears shooter? If not, there’s at least one more Kinect shooter in the works. “Pew pew pew” as they say.

  6. Despite only having a couple of games worth mentioning at the moment I still love my Kinect and much prefer it to the Move. Sports and Adventures are always fun when played with a few mates or family members so I’ve definately got my moneys worth from it. Looking forward to seeing what new titles they come up with.

  7. I’d actually completely forgotten about Kinect until I read this. I knew it’d just be a flash in the pan.

  8. Its odd because although it has a lot less games and seems to have affected the general gaming community a lot less, its still sold more than Move and made more of an impact on the casual market.

    Just shows you the power of advertising and marketing.

    • I think the main thing is that, unlike the Move, it feels like something different. Lets face it, as good as the tech is, the Move is still a slightly more responsive Wii Remote, whereas the Kinect takes your whole body into account and is more appealing (to me included)

      • While the comparison with a Wiimote is easy and understandable, to say it’s only “slightly more responsive” is doing it a disservice. Moreover, you forget that the Move also uses a camera, which can be used to track your body if developed into the game (The Fight: Lights Out, for example).

      • This is true. Having used all the bits of tech I will admit I felt like the Move was ‘listening’ to me more than the Wii Remote, but their implementation into games is almost a mirror image at this stage. I do agree that the Move has more room for technical expansion than the Wii remote though

    • There’s alot more existing xbox owners than PS3 owners though.

      • hardly, 53.6 million to 50 million, or so wikipedia says

      • Nope,Just more console out there because the had to replace millions due to RROD.

  9. All the green team friends I have hate kinect and feel short changed as the hardcore. Move, love dead space, the fight and KILLZONE 3, heavy rain, resi 5 to name a few.

  10. MS at E3 last year was a joke!
    There was nothing to get excited about unless you are a 9 year old girl.
    Kinect is a huge disappointment,and basically a wii clone.
    anyone over 9 looks like a mental patient playing it.
    I hope the dont mention Kinect at E3 this year,but im sure they will as they have no good games on the horizon..

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