Rare Development Director Promotes Kinect to Develop 2010 Audience

BOOM widget 132892Speaking at Develop 2010 in Brighton (as reported in a pair of stories on Develop), Nick Burton, Kinect development director at Microsoft's Rare studio, promoted the upcoming motion-sensing peripheral for the 360 as both the solution to controller intimidation and a potentially huge new platform for core-gamers. Burton reiterated the motion-control rallying call of traditional hand-held controllers being too complex and creating a barrier to entry for potential gamers.

He used his daughter as an example of technology overload. He explained that she couldn't comprehend why for a game that used two buttons the others on the controller became redundant. Another trouble he noted with controllers comes from concerns over doing something wrong. Motion control solves this because, he said, "it removes the layer of scariness that a controller has."

To Burton, using Kinect does not pre-determine for the designer that they're making a casual or family game. When asked about GoldenEye -- the classic shooter Rare created for the N64 -- he said that there are a number of ways it could work. He went on to talk about the potential for incorporating augmented reality in games similar to the apps just starting to surface on webcams. He contends it's well within reach because the basic foundation of virtualizing the player and space takes so little work on the developer's side. "That's the magic of [Kinect's] skeletal tracking," he said.

Burton's comments are not surprising given his position but leave ample room open to be second guessed. Compared to the computers and smart phones in use everyday by millions ranging down to a fairly young age, the eight-button controller represents a simple device. It's also one that, despite the time and effort put into Wii games, remains the more desirable way to play many games. Kinect may well hold tremendous potential for core-games, but, to date, that promise remains theoretical.