In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer spoke out about how he feels that Kinect remains an important part of the Xbox project. Here is what he had to say.
“It’s not abandoned. We just developed Upload Studio 2.0, which has green screening that you can do with Kinect. We’ll continue to build functionality to make it a valuable part of the ecosystem. That said, price point’s really important for the console – we saw that over the holidays in the UK and US, where we did well when we dropped the price, which was great.
And I want to make sure consumers have choice on how much they value the functionality of Kinect when they buy a console. If you want to go buy a Kinect console [bundle], then they’re still available. I think it’s a great part of the ecosystem. And if you want just a console, and either add Kinect later, or Kinect’s simply not something you’re interested in, we give you that choice as well
The teams continue to look at ways that Kinect makes the entertainment experience better. I’d say the area that hasn’t really landed – and I don’t know if it will – is, ‘Is Kinect integral to all of the core gaming scenarios on our console in terms of minute-to-minute gameplay?’ There are genres where Kinect works really well, but if you’re playing Halo or Call Of Duty, there’s not really a scenario that says, ‘Hey, I need a Kinect.’
There is lot of excitement, and there are still announcements to come about what people are doing with it. But [Kinect’s] place will be earned through the experiences that are out there and the developers that show interest. We will continue to build functionality through voice and using the RGB and depth cameras, and we’ll stay focused on that, but giving the consumers choice is pretty critical.”
Don’t get me wrong, Kinect has proved useful in a handful of ways. Not only is it handy when navigating the Xbox One’s UI, but it has also been used effectively to accompany games played with a controller such as FIFA to make on-the-fly substitutions. Nevertheless, despite what Spencer says, Microsoft surely can’t deny that the system has largely been a failure as the public perception of Kinect is that it was never necessary and that it never had any good games of its own. Perhaps Microsoft should bid Kinect farewell and admit their errors, but that won’t be happening any time soon.