The pitch for the product is fantastic, and one that actually got me to pop into Nyko’s booth at E3 for a few minutes to check out the device itself. Nyko is selling a peripheral for the Kinect that’s, essentially, a zoom for the camera hardware. The service the peripheral performs is one that most Kinect owners would likely recognize as a blessing; it actually reduces the amount of space needed to play games.
Normally, gamers need around 10 feet of open space in front of their TVs in order to make Kinect gaming possible. The Nyko Zoom essentially reduces that space requirement to roughly six feet.
So what’s the rub? Microsoft will not officially endorse the product and goes as far as warning against its use. A Microsoft spokesperson gave CVG a typically canned response that nonchalantly points at devices like the Nyko Zoom as potentially harmful to the quality of gameplay.
“Kinect has been tested for performance, accuracy and environmental conditions thoroughly. Any modification can impact the overall performance of Kinect.”
Of course, admitting that the gaming experience on the Kinect and Xbox 360 is heightened with the use of a device like the Nyko Zoom would basically be the equivalent of owning up to your own company’s hardware flaws. Getting behind the Nyko Zoom would be like saying, “Yes, the Kinect needs a modification to work well, please use this third party device to enjoy gaming.”
Not going to happen.
That said, there is a definite quality to the notion that Microsoft built the Kinect to work a certain way under certain circumstances. The open space required to enjoy the hardware fully has been a constant source of criticism for the Kinect; don’t you think Microsoft would have implemented changes in production in order to avoid those issues?
However, whether they chose to ignore the zoom potential out of poor engineering or production costs is something we’ll likely never understand.