"I think you see with Kinect experiences today, it's not about precision," Microsoft's creative director and Kinect frontman Kudo Tsunoda said in a recent interview. In the course of the discussion, which spanned many Kinect-related topics, he conceded that certain types of experiences were better suited to the device, and opined about the device's potential to improve how we interact with virtual characters.
"If it's built from the ground up for Kinect it will feel better than with the controller, if it's built for a controller it'll feel better than with Kinect, and I think that makes sense," Tsunoda told Edge, addressing the fact that chasing high scores in a game like Child of Eden is easier with a gamepad.
What we've found probably isn't natural is when you give people a long, learned list of gestures to make which trigger specific actions, where you need to do this one specific thing with your body that the game tells you to do, that designers have said, 'Hey you have to do this one specific thing and you have to do a bunch of those in sequence.' That kind of stuff is taking 'what you do with the controller' game design and putting it into Kinect, and it just doesn’t feel as natural or approachable as the other two ways.
On the other hand, tailor-made games like Dance Central actually help build "real world skills" that can then be applied in real life. Kinect's voice technology is also something Tsunoda sees making a big impact, with the potential to push gaming forward in meaningful ways. Tsunoda posits that we'll soon see games that contain virtual characters "able to understand the tone of your voice and how you're saying things, and being able to see your body language and incorporating that into relationships." He sites Kinectimals as an example, but implementing this sort of thing in games like Mass Effect 3 is an example that's certainly more exciting to core gamers.
Kinect continues to sell well, with over 10 million units (and counting) moved, but developers still might be cautious when they consider making a Kinect-only title. After all, 10 million is still less than a fifth of the entire 55 million Xbox 360 user-base. Tsunoda acknowledged the potential hurdle, but hopes that creativity will trump pure business acumen. "Business motivations are great, but it's also great to see the creative inspiration driving people to do stuff."