2010 - Microsoft Kinect: Console Obtains Eyes
Nintendo made a revolution in 2006 with Wii game console and its motion-sensing controllers. Microsoft attempted to craft another revolution in 2010 with Kinect, a device that is not a motion-sensing controller, but a motion sensor. Today, you are the controller, claims Microsoft.
The technology behind Microsoft Kinect is pretty simple: the device has RGB camera as well as a depth camera in addition to audio sensors. The combination of RGB and depth cams generates information that allows to detect motions of a human being and reflect the acts on the screen. At present the technology has a number of limitations because of software and firmware, but in spite of drawbacks there is a great interest towards Kinect from all around the industry.
As reported above, Nintendo Wii immersed players into the game by using motion-sensing controllers. Microsoft Kinect dives players into virtual worlds by detecting their own motions, a concept that essentially puts gamers into their imagined world. At least in theory, if not limited by technology, this could be almost the holy Grail of gaming.
Kinect is an indisputable success not only because one million of consumers bought the accessory in the first 25 days of its commercial life, but also because enthusiasts hacked it in the very first days of its commercial life. This kind of "interest" is a clear indicator of interest by computer enthusiasts, who are usually visionaries in general. Potentially, this means that Microsoft just hit a trigger that can transform the game controls as well as create a new type of interaction with user interface.
What will happen next is to be seen. But at this point the Kinect is not only innovative, but it is also a product that is clearly different from all the other moving-related approaches. The interest towards Kinect generated by Xbox 360 users and enthusiasts is an evident proof that the technology is at a point where the gaming (in fact, not only gaming) industry reconsiders its way to move forward and its approach to game design in general.