Kinect And Wii U GamePad Detract Or Add To The Experience?

Rob Fahey has written a brilliant article on GameIndustry.biz about why he thinks the Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U are actually worse off with their true next-gen innovations in Kinect and the GamePad.

Xbox One and Wii U are less conservative, because both of them make some effort to change the interface and context of videogames. Xbox One includes a vastly updated and improved Kinect motion sensor, which shoulders the brunt of the blame for the console’s inflated price tag. The sensor, like its predecessor, is designed to map and understand the movement of human bodies around the room in front of it – unlike its predecessor, it actually appears to be capable of doing so very well. The Wii U, meanwhile, includes the GamePad, a touchscreen controller that lets you play games even while others are watching something else on TV, but more interestingly, also creates a second screen for gameplay and has potential uses in asymmetric multiplayer, wherein one player uses the screen to set up a game while others use Wii Remotes to tackle the challenges being created.

It could be, of course, that the features themselves just aren’t much good. I think the potential of the GamePad remains to be tapped, but have some sympathy with the argument that Kinect, even in its vastly upgraded Xbox One incarnation, is a solution for which no readily apparent problem can be found. Certainly its present function, as an utterly sub-par way of controlling the console’s menu functions and an occasional shoehorned annoyance in games, does little to explain why this expensive piece of hardware is a mandatory part of Xbox One – yet I know that there are plenty of enthusiastic and intelligent games people at Microsoft, and there must be a genuine belief that Kinect 2 can deliver unique and worthwhile experiences that won’t be possible on other consoles. The problem is that, just as with the thus-far largely meaningless GamePad, Microsoft has failed to demonstrate or articulate just what those experiences will be.

It feels like both companies want to bottle some of the magic which fuelled the Wii to such great heights in the last generation, but they’ve forgotten that the real magic of the Wii wasn’t actually the Wiimote – it was Wii Sports. In one superbly crafted game, bundled free with the console in many territories, Nintendo explained exactly what the Wii was for. A few minutes with Wii Sports showed anyone and everyone what the Wiimote was designed to do and how it would change the game experience. Moreover, it set out a clear agenda for the console as a whole – a social machine, a family machine, an accessible machine. Wii Sports wasn’t just a game, it was a powerful demonstration, a mission statement and perhaps the greatest piece of marketing anyone in the games industry has ever crafted.

The Xbox One and the Wii U both have their Wiimote, but neither has their Wii Sports.

The last sentence that I highlighted in bold is really the key point in the article to me. Both devices have potential, and I have always been a supporter of the Kinect, but neither have a true stand-out game which fulfils some of the potential of either device yet. Obviously it is still very early days with the Xbox One, with Kinect-focused games like Kinect Sports Rivals coming out soon, but you would have hoped that Nintendo would have a killer game that utilises the GamePad properly by now.

Check out the full article over on GamesIndustry.biz.

Fru- A Great Idea For A Kinect Game

I love the idea behind Fru and I really hope it makes it to become a full game. It reminds me of the original games that came out for the Sony EyeToy camera when it first came out and what is available on the PS4 today, but I have never really seen any cool games like this using the Kinect on the Xbox and especially the Xbox One. This is a shame as the Kinect is a much more powerful camera and device than what Sony has to offer so the games could be much more complex. If there are games like this out there already then I would love to find them!

Check out the full article over on Joystiq.com.

Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason International Championships

Polygon.com has an article about the news that the Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason free demo will host an International Championships with the winners receiving in-game prizes:

Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason will feature a wake racing contest worldwide as part of its Preseason International Championship, according to a post on Xbox Wire.

Beginning Feb. 1, Preseason players can compete to set the best race time for both in-game national and international leaderboards.

The challenge concludes Feb. 28. The world champion winner will receive an in-game gold-encrusted wake racer, while individual country winners will receive the title of national champion and a silver wake racer. Participants from the home of the world champion winner will also receive a wake racer decorated with the country’s flag.

Those interested in participating must download the Kinect Sports Rivals hub companion app, as well as the Preseason demo. For more on Kinect Sports Rivals, read our hands-on impressions and interview with executive producer Danny Isaac.

Originally announced as an Xbox One launch title, Kinect Sports Rivals was later delayed to Spring 2014. Microsoft released Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason, a free demo, on Nov. 22.

 

Kinect Sports: Rivals Demo With IGN

IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey test out being scanned and the Wave Race in Kinect Sports: Rivals. Remember this game still has months of development time left on it so it will look and play even better when it is released 🙂