It seems as though alleged specifications for the next-generation of Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral have made their way online. According to a post on VGLeaks, the new iteration of the Kinect will have several improvements to help it better see users—which is good, because the current Kinect is about 60/40, and that ain’t no way to be.
The specs also note that the new Kinect won’t include the “tilt motor,” which, in the current version, has allowed the sensor to move along with users to try and track their location in the room. This version of Kinect, however, will supposedly have an improved-enough field of view that the tilt motor won’t be necessary.
The long and the short of it is this: the Kinect 2.0 should work better than the current version. But the big question that these specs don’t address is this: should Microsoft bother with motion tracking at all?
The Wii’s motion-sensing technology proved to be an interesting new way to play games that only a few titles managed to incorporate with any degree of true success. For the most part, however, motion-sensing became an afterthought. The PS Move and Xbox Kinect have both failed to really do much of anything to improve on Nintendo’s own innovations, instead mostly seeming like late-to-the-party copycats of the Wii’s casual-friendly gaming approach.
The Kinect gained popularity on its own for all of the non-gaming, hackable aspects of the device, but as a gaming peripheral, it’s been a total flop. So while it’s nice to hear that the next version of the Kinect will improve in ways that its predecessor failed, it’s not really clear yet whether or not this will ever matter.
I suppose I could be eating my words by this time next year, when we’re all playing the great games that take advantage of Kinect 2.0. I would be more than happy to do so if that day should ever come. But until then, I’m still mad whenever my stupid Kinect misunderstands a conversation I’m having with my girlfriend on the couch and decides to turn off the Netflix movie I’m watching.
Curse you, Kinect. Curse you to the depths of video gam peripheral hell. Say hello to the Power Glove when you get there.