While initial consumer reaction to the Kinect appears to be positive, it is too early to ascertain whether this new concept in gaming will revolutionise the market. Its social-oriented games are designed to appeal to the new generation of casual gamers whose entry point to gaming was the Nintendo Wii. 26 per cent of Wii users have already expressed an interest in buying Kinect at launch.
However, removing the controller altogether from the gaming experience doesn’t work for all games. For example, Call of Duty most likely cannot be transferred to a system with no controller at all, where any activity must come from the actual physical movement of the user and the accuracy of firing a gun is lost without a tangible object in hand.
One manufacturer that appears to have recognised the need to satisfy gaming enthusiasts while evolving its technology to offer new gaming experiences is PlayStation and its Move controller.
Move offers more challenging games than the Wii to appeal to gaming enthusiasts, but retains the motion controller-based system that has proved popular with casual gamers.
While wider appeal offers real potential for the gaming industry and console development, manufacturers must be careful not to alienate gaming enthusiasts whose needs are not met by these new technologies.
The success of new gaming technologies must strike the balance between high-quality gaming which will appeal to dedicated gamers and fun and simple games that bring a broader demographic together. Only time will tell whether PlayStation’s Move has successfully struck the right balance, or whether the future of gaming lies in products that satisfy either gaming enthusiasts or casual gamers – but not both.