The launch line up for Microsoft's Kinect is a tremendous disappointment as it usually is for any new console launch. Obviously Kinect isn't a new console per se but we're now 6 years into the life of the Xbox 360 and that's about the time new consoles are introduced to replace our pathetically outdated systems. The difference this time around is that both Microsoft and Sony are pushing motion controls, and unfortunately 3D, as the next-gen gaming leap without a call for a new device. I'm sure as hell not ready to jump into a new lifecycle of consoles just yet and I'm sure many others feel the same. For Christ's sake there are people out there who still have no idea their Xbox 360 can be turned on by pressing the Xbox guide button on the wireless controller. Just yesterday, I confirmed a question
a friend an acquantiance had about whether or not his Xbox would play DVDs. He nearly shat his pants in enjoyment. Do these people really need a new console?
Xbox Live's Major Nelson posted the complete launch list for Kinect over on his blog and it reads like the most uninspired, half-assed, me-too list of video games 3VAR! Most of those games are nothing you wouldn't find on an uninformed parent's Christmas list of exciting gifts for Billy which he can only play after church and chores are done. EGM is the truth, read it.
The line up announced at TGS in September however, is a different story. Microsoft, much like Sony, without a doubt are aiming towards the casual market with the same Wii-like mentality of throwing motion controls onto the same ol' gameplay mechanics and "family friendly" themes we are all too familiar with. Can you blame them? They're Satan. In the hands of the right developer though, Kinect and Playstation Move can really shine. If Peter Molyneux's "Project Milo" presentation at last year's E3 was any indication of what's in developer's minds we've got some really intriguing stuff to look forward to. Although Project Milo has had it's share of on-again-off-again moments in the development cycle it's still promising nonetheless.
With devs like Grasshopper led by Suda 51 of No More Heroes fame and of course the omniscient Hideo Kojima onboard, my bets are on the future of Kinect looking fairly bright. Consider my pre-order confirmed.
Quick side note about menu navigation support, which I find to be an extremely useful feature. Once Kinect is plugged in, your Xbox will essentially have full voice command support as well as having a new dashboard to fit more with Kinect's method of input for navigating the new UI. Sony's Playstation Move does little in this area as navigating the XMB's menus are extremely finicky and not elegant in the slightest. Granted I own a Playstation Move and Navigation controller, where I have yet to test out Kinect's implementation which I will surely do in the days to come, November 4th to be exact.