E3 2011 Viewpoints: Microsoft Kinect, Xbox 360, and LIVE

Bill Loguidice's picture

I thought it would be better that instead of doing a giant E3 blog post, to have separate discussions for each company to maximize ease of debate and discussion. Since Microsoft went first, I'll talk about them first.

First, here's the stuff that's immediate from Microsoft's session:

  • Kinect Fun Labs is immediately available and includes new avatar creation features and augmented reality stuff. I downloaded it (slowly) last night, but have yet to try it. The basic concept is a good one in that it really is a "lab" and new gadgets and features will be added over time.
  • Microsoft claims that the Xbox 360 will continue to be the number one selling console month-to-month in North America, but will also achieve that worldwide in short order.
  • It looks like all the rest of this is coming in the big Fall update, which I suspect will hit some time in September:

    • Lots of upcoming games (even hardcore ones) will make use of Kinect voice and gesture recognition, which, in addition to further integration into the dashboard will no doubt ensure that Kinect sales will continue to be brisk and Microsoft will continue to build a blueprint for their next generation system.
    • YouTube is coming to Xbox LIVE, joining the already-in-place Facebook and Twitter, among others.
    • Voice-command driven (via Kinect) DVR and an Internet TV service (Xbox LIVE TV) that will be in direct competition with standard cable and satellite services.
    • Bing (universal) search is coming to the system; you can also use Bing voice commands via Kinect to access marketplace stuff directly.
    • You can access PC media libraries using Kinect.
    • Microsoft will offer cloud storage for game saves and profiles, potentially making both using a USB stick to transport your profile to other systems and the account recovery process unnecessary.
    • A bizarre Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel was announced. I have an awesome Logitech force feedback wheel system for my PS3 and PC, so I'm definitely up for good steering wheel controllers, but this one might be a bit too radical of a design. I wish Microsoft would just reissue their now discontinued force feedback wheel.

    So, there you have it. Not a blockbuster E3 showing, but a showing of surprising strength and confidence. This may not win any new Xbox 360 converts, but it shows Microsoft is committed to the platform for the remainder of this generation. As an Xbox 360 fan, I'm excited by the changes, but as an author in the process of writing a new Xbox 360 book, much like what happened with Wii Fitness For Dummies, the announcements kind of throw a monkey wrench in the book's timing...

Comments

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I'm a bit suprised they are

I'm a bit suprised they are still pushing Kinect so hard, they themsleves have already dropped over half of the 'announced' titles (thouhg I admit very low key) and upcomming stuff they mentioned from release. The 3rd party annoucments way back have dropped from 60+ to less then 15, but annoucments on what may happen ... well when it doesnt, its not a real big deal either. With sales dropping to that none exsistant area (on kinect) in the last few months after such a awsome launch.

The Wheel? wow.. its my understanding they dont make the offical one anymore either, just old stock.. the original one was actually a pretty nice wheel (loved how it fit your lap)..

Im a bit suprised MS dont push LIVE a bit harder, its it clear strength, i guess the cloud stuff is part of that (i for one would think moving profiles for some gameing at a friends would be kinda nice).

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I was skeptical of Kinect

I was skeptical of Kinect until my interviews with Becky, who really sold me on it. She believed that MS had only scratched the surface of its potential. Just seems like they haven't had that breakthrough "must have" killer app type application for it yet. Sounds like they're going for a skunkworks type deal with the Labs for it, probably hoping something will come out of left field.

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
One thing I forgot to mention

One thing I forgot to mention in the update above is that Kinect will now have finger tracking. Previously it essentially only saw your hand as a solid object. Again, while as hardcore gamers we may dismiss a lot of what Kinect is offering now, it's best for Microsoft to go whole hog this generation with operating system control experiments and game experiments so they have a better idea of how to fully integrate it all for next generation. Voice control, gesture control, whole body tracking with individual fingers, etc., can be combined quite powerfully with traditional control methods, and we're seeing a lot of that now with what is happening with Kinect. Certainly the public response has been impressive.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Kinect is that first step

Kinect is that first step into something amazing, i do believe that.. but right now in gaming, its no differnt than move/wii wands to me.. its cool for a few games, but 99% just simply play better without it... and to force it just to use it (again like so many Wii games tried) is just not doing gamers any service at all. the voice command stuff is cool, but .. errr we have had that for years and instead of a $150 bar they can do it with the built in headphone mic that has been out for 360 since day one... you know add it without making us pay via software update? truth be told I think Kinect is the best of the 3 motion devices, but so far hardly any of the games have impressed me at all with any of them. Again, some are quite fun, like the Mech controler for the original Xbox, not worth haveing for just a couple games.

but who knows, maybe some great game will show up, The star Wars demo looked pretty cool, to bad the lag was so bad, but it was a unfinished game.

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