Now that the hype surrounding the release of Kinect has died down, it’s becoming clear that Microsoft’s motion-sensing device is in need of a killer app.
So far it’s been a huge success shifting 10 million units worldwide – an incredible number considering its £130 price tag – but with the Christmas season well behind us now, Kinect needs the right software releases or risk waning popularity.
Released in 2001, it’s often said that the original Xbox console was only a success because of its killer app: Halo: Combat Evolved. A game so good I still play my old copy on my Xbox 360 nearly ten years after its release. The continued success of the franchise has been key to Microsoft establishing themselves in the video game console market, so they’re well aware of the importance of releasing key software when it counts. And therein lies my concerns for Kinect’s long-lasting integrity.
I got a Kinect sensor just before Christmas that came bundled with Kinect Adventures and I also picked up the one launch title that looked decent, Kinect Sports. Both games are great fun to play with friends or family and are surprisingly enjoyable on your own but as the months pass with no new significant titles, the sensor is sadly staring at me like Wall*E ‘s evil cousin as I work my way through Halo Reach and Mass Effect 2.
This is especially worrying in the land of video games because hardware and software that gathers dust starts to creep into your mind as contraband with decent trade-in value.
There have been some exciting rumours regarding forthcoming Kinect titles. Microsoft has purchased the domain ‘halokinect.com’ which depending on how you look at it either sounds like the perfect candidate for a killer app, or a huge flop of a game that could drive Kinect into the realms of failure, to live out its life with most of its crap launch titles. Quite how Halo Kinect would work could keep us all guessing. An FPS with no controller? Surely a gun peripheral would be the minimum necessity, and that’ll only hack off the consumers who paid top-dollar for a controller-free games experience.
One game that is coming is Star Wars Kinect. A teaser trailer has been around for some time and looks like it could be a very good instalment in the hit and miss world of Star Wars games. If it’s a success then it could all but guarantee the success of Microsoft’s casual gaming efforts; who the hell wouldn’t want to deflect Stormtroopers’ laser shots with a lightsaber?
But if the big names in movies and games don’t want get involved with Kinect – considering it too much of a risk to invest in – then here is what we have to fear in the coming year:
Royal Wedding Day 3D: The ultimate experience ahead of this year’s Royal marriage of ‘Wills and Kate’, or as the game fondly calls them: ‘Kills’. You can play as either character and enjoy their special day in glorious detail. Choose to play as Will and you can stare at yourself in the mirror wondering if you only got an attractive wife because you’re a prince or, if you’re a thrill-seeker, take the action-packed role of Kate and wave at the crowds as you drive on an open-top parade around West London. It’s a guaranteed winner.
BNP: Shore Protector: Playing as the game’s hero, Nick Griffin, you patrol the beaches of several southern counties as wave after wave of immigrants and refugees fly across the channel. Using Kinect’s full motion control you swipe the baddies away with exaggerated punches and sink their canoes with a virtual bow and arrow. Don’t hate the game, hate the player.
Keys and Gray: Interactive Perv: Take the field as former Sky Sports anchor-pervs Andy Gray and Richard Keys. You’re stood outside Wembley on the day of the Champions League final and have to make sexist and disgusting comments at females passing by. The seedier the better in this erection-a-minute experience. Also, slap the arses of the females who walk too close to you for a bonus round in which you try and seduce Steven Gerrard. “What’s that Andy, ‘Take a bow son!’?”
Formula 1 Dodger: Fully licensed by the FIA and including all tracks of the 2011 season, F1 Dodger puts you on the circuit with your heroes. Dropped on the middle of the fastest corner of every track, you have milliseconds to judge which way you will leap to avoid resembling a fly on a car in the summertime. Difficulty levels range from Easy (Kovaleinen) to Hard (Hamilton) to Hilarious Double Act (Webber and Vettel). Start your engines…
Tube Ryda: An online multiplayer game set on London’s underground network. Using full motion sensing and built-in microphone you can interact with up to 16 different players. You get more points the more you intimidate someone verbally and physically, but watch out, if you pick on the wrong person you automatically issue a challenge to fight to the death. Difficulties range from Easy (Piccadilly Circus) to Killa (Stockwell).
Gym Monkey Facebook: Gym Monkey Facebook is an innovative fitness game in which you pointlessly bulk yourself up in real life and onscreen. Thanks to Kinect’s advanced sensors, your onscreen avatar will look just like you, and the more you bulk-up the more the game encourages you to post pictures of your shirtless torso on Facebook. But be warned, not only will most women be repulsed: just like in real life you’ll start going saggy as you get older and the game will carry on posting pictures of you for everyone to laugh at. Now, where’s that creatine supplement…