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Will The Kinect Connect With Gamers?

by Sean P. Aune | June 14, 2010June 14, 2010 12:21 pm PST

After living with the name “Project Natal” for a year, I had actually gotten used to it.  Not sure why, but it just felt like an ok name, sure it didn’t make much sense, but at least it wasn’t some weird spelling that tires to make a product seem more hip and cool!

Oh … drat.

kinectSo, yes, Kinect is the new name for Project Natal, and it isn’t horrible, I could just live without the funky spelling, but whatever.  I’ve just never been one for the weird spellings of product names, but that may just be.

Will it revolutionize gaming?  No.  Just take a look at the promo picture to the right.  How long are people going to want to do stupid poses like that?  Are they dancing?  Are they driving a race car?  Who knows.  What I do know is people will get excited about this, those that buy it will think its the greatest thing ever … until the first time they sweat or feel a muscle tense up.  “Hey, I don’t play video games to do this, I play them to relax!”, and they will immediately sit back down on the couch with their controller.

Yes, the Nintendo Wii has required some motion, and it has been extremely popular, but there is a world of difference between moving a controller around as opposed to using your whole body.  A lot of people have pointed out the Wii Fit required your whole body, and it sold well, but how many of those do you imagine are now residing at the bottom of a closet under a pile of clothes or shoes?

The initial line up of games is intriguing, but also obvious that Microsoft isn’t quite sure what the demographic is.  Kinectimals is obviously for the kids, Dance Central for the casual party gamers and an unnamed Star Wars game with lightsaber & Force power motions … I’m all for different genres, but when your launch games are so all over the board, it just strikes me as throwing paint on a wall and seeing what sticks.

All-in-all, I’m still interested in the device, and the video chat may be interesting, but have you ever had a burning desire to see some of the people you play Modern Warfare 2 with?  Yeah, me neither.  It could be good for families and friends separated over large distances, but you need an Xbox or some way it will connect with Messenger.

The reviews, along with recommendations from friends, will make or break this device.  For now it just strikes me as something that people will be tentative about until they are sure it will actually have some life to it, and not be dropped in under a year like so many other gaming peripherals have been over the years.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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