All I want for Xmas is...While Nintendo revolutionised and reinvigorated the gaming scene with Wii by attracting a new audience of families, women and casual gamers enticed by the interaction and physicality of Wii’s motion controls, Microsoft looks to take things a step further and capitalise on the new breed of active gamer with its brand new Kinect sensor. It feels like I've been at this junction before with the launch of Wii, which was an exciting time to be a gamer. I remember with fondness the butterflies I had in my stomach when my console arrived on launch day, the buzz of setting it up and being part of this new era of social gaming. With Kinect, it's a similar kind of experience for me which reignites that thrill of embarking on something new. Kinect represents the next rung of the ladder on the way to fully interactive gaming and once again it's an exciting time to be a gamer.
The success of Wii has paved a yellow brick road for Sony and Microsoft to follow and try and grab a chunk of this new audience, but they'll need to do a lot more than just provide for the party gamers out there; Nintendo has been there and done that and I doubt anyone can do it better. Nevertheless, the novelty of waving a motion-controller around and watching my actions translate fairly accurately on screen has worn off considerably during the life cycle of Wii and, apart from playing Zelda and Super Mario Galaxy, my console stays unplugged for the majority of the time, only to be switched on when there’s a group of drunken people at my house keen to play one of the many competitive, party games. Kinect, however, with its new kind of motion-sensing experience may well get me back up off the sofa, off my backside and waggling my hips like Beyonce, or waving my arms around like a tic-tac man at the races. Only this time, it will actually pick up my movements and I won't be able to cheat and cut-corners like do when playing Wii. I'm expecting to be totally immersed in the games thanks to this impressive technology.
Though I’ve been incredibly excited to get my hands on Kinect, I’ve also been slightly worried slightly that in my house it will suffer the same fate as Wii and we’ll see too much of a focus on casual and party gaming and lots of sub-standard games. However, I'm encouraged that Microsoft is also trying to hook in the more serious gamers, a large part of its install base, with the promise of some great titles and lots of support from third party publishers. With technology like this, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to achieve that goal.