Microsoft’s Kinect has been receiving a mixed bag of opinions and reviews from many journalists in both newspapers, magazines and online media. While a good idea, the general feeling is that the poor support in games and that rather nerdy way of issuing voice commands in Mass Effect 3 to your support team should only be left to idiots. Like the Move, a lot of people only see it as something for kids to play with, like the Wii.
Honestly, I played with a Wii for a month, the Kinect for a few hours and always visit the Playstation Move booths in Musica and Game whenever I get the chance. All three solutions offer a great way of interacting with your favourite games and despite the voice commands (which still haven’t taken off, even though you can do it in Halo Wars and Supreme Commander) its really not a gimmick anymore.
When you take Kinect in context to what Microsoft is imagining for their Windows 8 system, its really going to make a big difference to users who take the time to look at how it works. Augmented reality apps have taken off in a big way and with the advanced hardware and software in Kinect, it makes motion-based control that much easier to achieve.
If Microsoft brings the Kinect software to Windows phone, it may do it from the phone itself. Right now Kinect requires three cameras to work – one for movement tracking, one to decide what is background stuff and which part of what its seeing is you, the player, and finally an infrared camera for when you’re playing at night. Imagine an app inside Windows phone that uses Kinect, OCR and the internet to interact with anything you point it to. Point it to a map and it might be able to tell you where you are on that map using a combination of geo-location and showing a dot in your screen once your coordinates have been logged that shows you where you are in relation to your surroundings.
Or maybe you look at a menu in French and suppose your French is very poor – you’d probably be ordering snails in peanut butter for all you know. Point your Kinect-enabled Windows phone to the menu and it’ll translate things on the screen right in front of your very eyes, even down to calculating exchange rates for the Euro to tell you how much this is going to hurt you.
Its all there – the technology is already available and working. Its up to Microsoft to keep up the brilliant job they’re doing with the Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows desktops and stick it through the tough times ahead as people get used to the new way of doing things.