apoppin wrote:For $250, i won't be an early adopter; it sounds like it should be a lot cheaper - unless i can get one for evaluation
Were it not for the Wii, doubtless there would be no Kinect, and almost certainly no PlayStation Move, but the problem with these products is that they are add-ons to existing consoles that were never designed with motion control in mind, and the range of games that support each of them is limited. Obviously, in contrast, the vast majority of Wii titles (the likes of Wii Fit excepted) are built with the motion controller in mind.
Sony has faced the bigger problem here, despite having arguably the premier product in the field and the most talented internal R&D team who were literally years ahead of their time. To my mind, PlayStation Move is the most flexible, versatile and potentially exciting motion controller of the lot. It does everything the Wiimote is capable of and a whole lot more, and its level of precision is unrivalled. The genius of its design is all down to the SCEA group led by Sony's Doctor Richard Marks - who was experimenting with motion control over a decade ago, and actually exhibited a wand-style controller for PlayStation 2 at ECTS way back in 2001. Marks was even demonstrating Kinect-style cameras in 2004 during a presentation for Stanford University students, over a year before the Xbox 360 even launched.
Unfortunately, as good as Move is, it doesn't define the PlayStation experience in the way that the Wiimote did for Nintendo: its many qualities are never the primary focus for games developers, and while there have been some great implementations in first party titles, Sony never deployed its best development teams on Move-centric products. The approach is somewhat at odds with Microsoft's Kinect launch, consisting of almost exclusive titles and the positioning of Kinect as a new platform.
The second issue is one of precision. In the past couple of years, various claims have been made with regards the detail the Kinect cameras are able to resolve, in particular when it comes to the hands and fingers. Kinect titles have concentrated mostly on major body movement, and precise movements with the hands and fingers have not been possible to track effectively - hence the overly strange Ghost Recon performance we saw at the Microsoft E3 presser last year. By the time the next-gen comes around, upgrading to higher precision cameras, perhaps even with a 60Hz refresh, should be possible.
Microsoft has opened pre-orders for a new version of the Kinect sensor for Windows, ahead of its launch on July 15.
Kinect for Windows v2 is priced at $199/£159, and will feature the same broadly improved capabilities as the Kinect that shipped with the Xbox One. Microsoft's target market is app developers, so the device will not ship with any software, and a separate license is required for the SDK 2.0. Developers will be able to build apps in C++, C#, or Visual Studio Basic.
You would be forgiven a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders at the release of a new Kinect device, particularly if your main interest is gaming. In May, Microsoft backtracked on its initial strategy to make the Kinect a compulsory feature of the Xbox One, a move that was widely interpreted as the beginning of the end for the device.
But the truth is that while game developers have struggled to make compelling games for both versions of the Kinect, the first version of the device was put to fascinating use in a variety of fields - from interactive art installations to surgeon training to interpreting sign language.
Whatever its future as a device for gaming, the new version of Kinect is a vast improvement over its predecessor in almost every respect. That opens up a wide spectrum of possibilities for Windows developers, not least those interested in creating experiences for nascent VR platforms like the Oculus Rift.
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