For some gamers, no matter what you do, Kinect or even any kind of motion gaming is not their cup of tea - and that's ok. There is still a lot to explore with standard controls such as narrative and lesser explored genres. So let's get this straight: standard controls will never go away. The pinpoint accuracy and immediate response you get from standard controls is unmatched. Yet, there are some gamers out there that want something new. They've played everything there is on a controller and don't mind standing and doing a little cardio while there at it. Dancing and Pet games aside, these gamers simply want a satisfying experience from their Kinect. However, there's this other group: The uninitiated, the soccer moms, the spectators, etc. This is the same group that finds the controller too foreign and fearful to handle. Most of that group would rather watch instead of wince at pressing the wrong buttons to avoid embarrassment. While the Wii and Move have helped immensely in bringing this group to the world of electronic entertainment and Kinect takes the extra step by taking the controller away altogether.
So what does this have to do with Kinect and Hardcore Gaming?
In my personal experience, Kinect serves as an easier bridge that my wife crosses to experience games - friends too. Unfortunately, for me, that appeal does not last very long based on Kinect's current library. Hardcore gamers who I've debated with about Kinect's viability in the marketplace need real games in order to appeal to our kind - which is, unfortunately, not the kind of games I'd expect them to imagine. Many of them think that slapping on a First Person Shooter (FPS) or Real-Time Strategy Game (RTS) would fit the bill but this is Kinect - and doing the "pew pew" motion isn't exactly the kind of game I'd enjoy. Whatever game that can be enjoyed and controlled better with a standard controller should be left alone. FPS games can work fine on motion controls like the Move or the Wii but FPS games by nature aren't exactly inviting to casual gamers either.
We need games that are easy to understand but hard to master.
But what about a boxing game? Wait. Another boxing game? Ok. I know what you're thinking. Boxing games are plentiful in the motion control arena but have no depth aside from dodging and punching yet it's really easy to understand the appeal of boxing games. And what if this new boxing game can account for the type of fighter you are? Are you an inside-fighter? Brawler? Southpaw? What if the game can account for your footwork as well as your punching angles and defense. Obviously this type of depth might be too much for the casual gamer who may not care about boxing technique and just wants to knockout someone - which you still can.
But what if we can gradually introduce defensive technique of bobbing and weaving and train someone's form with sparring or mitts? What if we can adjust the CPU settings to accommodate beginners but reward vets at a higher difficulty level? It can be an addictive learning curve and potentially provide a more satisfying experience. One can also get a kick out of learning actual stances, defense and actual terms used in the ring. Boxing itself is a cerebral sport and when you can provide even just a little taste of what actual fighters go through and have a great workout too. All of a sudden a standard controller would seem less fitting for this type of game.
How about Fight Night Champion? That could be a great example of a boxing game with great depth that can extend beyond the controller. Obviously, you'd have to make changes to the game from it's side view perspective a more natural first person experience.
Point-and-click type adventure gaming is also another genre that doesn't get explored often that could work well with Kinect. I imagine one of those old school Sierra games getting the reboot like Police Quest. It's a great contrast from the more strenuous fitness and sports games while allowing you to sit on your couch. Guiding your character would not be much of a problem since the emphasis would be more of exploration as opposed to constant action. Being able to investigate or manipulate objects by holding them in your hand and rotating it in 3D space can lead to some intriguing gameplay scenarios. And what about interrogation sequences? Asking questions by voice and "pressuring" your suspect to coax out some answers sounds good on paper too.
Personally, I think first person and third person shooters that require precise movement and targeting is something that Kinect needs to stay away from. I'm also noticing a disturbing trend of dancing games show up often which is understandable but misses the whole point altogether. Dance Central is a hit among some of my hardcore friends but the last thing they need is more of the same while my casual gaming friends share the same opinion. I guess the reason for this commentary is not to make the mistake of suggesting to developers "you gotta do this game on Kinect because it's whole lotta fun on the controller". Instead, we should consider what works naturally with Kinect instead of trying port over what already works perfectly fine with standard controllers. Hopefully, when E3 rolls around, we can only hope that Microsoft will provide something that can appeal to both types of gamers.
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