Coming revolution

Soon a small black box will enter our living rooms, and that will change the way we spend time in front of TVs forever.  It will happen on Nov. 4, 2010, and the name of this phenomenon is Kinect.

Microsoft Kinect

In my student days I was an avid gamer and has played virtually all “big” games that came out for  PC, luckily for me those days it wasn’t such a flood as now. And I remember well the events that changed the game industry as we knew it. Those milestones were:

  • Doom - the first popular first-person shooter, 1993;
  • 3dfx Voodoo - the first 3D accelerator, 1996;
  • Nvidia GeForce 256 - the first 3D accelerator with integrated geometry GPU, 1999.

After that, I stopped actively playing games did not follow the gaming news. And returning sporadically into the game world I was discovering that nothing actually has changed. Well, the resolution was higher, graphics better and explosions more colourful. But the gameplay still remained the same - defined by Doom at the beginning of 90s. Of the remarkable events only the release of Nintendo Wii in 2006 comes to mind, which changed our perception of computer games. They were no longer something available only to nerds. Now the whole family could play and, more importantly, while moving rather than sitting still.  Perhaps it was then, when Microsoft saw that and decided to take the idea to a new level.

Kinect is a small box connected to the Xbox 360. It has 2 cameras that watch the player, detect the position of his body and movement, and thereby enable you to control events on the screen. Motion Control in a pure form – simple and brilliant. No controllers, no wires. According to Microsoft’s statements, one Kinect can completely digitise movements of  two players and track the positions of four more. The players may be standing or sitting. In addition, Kinect has multi-array microphone through which it can recognise the voice of his “master” and obey his orders.

Microsoft presented Kinect a year ago at E3 exhibition, then it carried the working title “Project Natal”. And immediately it was clear that it would be a revolution, if only Microsoft would be able to deliver on promises. Now, when Kinect is very close to the release, Microsoft has distributed sample devices to leading gaming magazines. And now we can say firmly - Microsoft succeeded. According to the lucky ones who played with Kinect, watching first time the character on the screen waiving its hands in coordination with you movements is fascinating. Motion Control is not perfect, but still very good.

This is what a gameplay with Kinect looks like:

I predict that Kinect will be a huge hit. It along with the new Xbox 360 will take the market by storm. Potential customers will have to stand in a queue for hours to buy it. And for some time after launch it will not be possible just to walk into a store and buy one, as it is now impossible to buy an iPhone 4. Neither Sony, nor Nintendo has anything comparable.

So, we are on the eve of the revolution. Now it is the turn of gaming companies  to help us fully explore this bright new world.