Kinect: A new vision for motion control

The latest instalment in our series of Xbox One profiles looks at the new Kinect

The new Kinect is a leap ahead of the original vision peripheral in every single way.

It has been upgraded in terms of camera, microphone, and functionality plus how it interfaces with the Xbox to totally change the way users interact with their consoles and TV.

From the moment you switch the console on – which you can do using the Kinect-powered vocal command ‘Xbox On’ – through to playing games or watching a movie, Kinect has been deeply integrated into Xbox One.

NEW LOOK

The appearance of the device has changed. It’s now a sleek black box, designed to match the look and feel of the console itself.

Under the hood there’s a raft of improvements and upgrades.

A 1080p camera guarantees more precise vision and more responsive motion tracking. The camera has a wider view so Kinect better fits into the home environment and can simply see more.

An infrared camera means it can ‘see’ you and your environment in a variety of lighting conditions. Its designers say it is so sensitive it can even track your heart rate.

Plus, high quality microphones and voice recognition software drastically improve your interactions. Kinect can distinguish your voice even in a noisy room using advanced noise reduction.

All of this opens up development options that weren’t available with the original Kinect – and which Microsoft hopes will give developers freedom to incorporate all sorts of inventive ideas into their titles.

So what does that mean for games?

Designers from Rare say that the device is ten times more powerful than the first Kinect, which was released for Xbox 360 in 2010 and sold over 24 million units.

Dead Rising 3 (pictured left) will be using the device’s highly accurate sensor to drive its active gameplay. The artificial intelligence of the zombies are altogether more advanced and as a result, the enemies are able to operate more as a group rather than as individuals. Players can take advantage of this in Dead Rising 3 by making a noise, screaming or shouting at the Zombie to cause a distraction.

Immediately ‘seeing’ players in this way also makes other console functions more convenient. Killer Instinct stores customised controller configurations for each player and ties them to their Kinect player profile, meaning that the game will switch to your button-layout even if you pick up a gamepad mid battle.

Beyond that, the limit is developers’ imaginations.

It won’t be long until we’re seeing games complemented by or built around Kinect – you could raise your controller as a shield to block an attack, play in the dark and find that the game gets scarier as Kinect reads your pulse or shout at enemies to distract their attention while a teammate sneaks up behind them.

With Kinect included with every Xbox One, developers should find new ways to utilise the technology and create gaming experiences that haven’t been possible before.

The Road to Xbox One is a series of profiles looking at the Xbox One experience, focusing on key games and hardware features, and updating you on retail activity and announcements from Gamescom.

Check your weekly MCV or visit MCVuk.com each Friday as we chronicle the Road to Xbox One.

Previously: This one's for you: Meet the Xbox One

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