If there was any doubt in your mind that Microsoft truly believes in its Kinect technology then it should have been removed after the announcement of the Xbox One on the 21st of May, 2013. Not only was it confirmed that every Xbox One console will ship with the new Kinect 2.0 hardware, but also that your Xbox console will fail to work should that Kinect bar not be plugged in. Kinect also featured heavily in the functionality of the console showed off by Microsoft, highlighting the new voice and motion controlled way that you will be able to control what you do on this next generation gaming machine.
It should be incredibly intuitive to navigate around the Xbox One using the Kinect, but as soon as the announcement was completed alarm bells started to ring across the internet. Not only can the Kinect answer your voice commands when the console was switched on, but saying ‘Xbox On’ aloud to the Xbox will actually turn it on! This means that the new Kinect is always on, always listening and theoretically always able to hear and watch what you’re doing, even in the dark, unless your console is literally turned off at the mains.
Microsoft representatives have explained that privacy and security is high on their list of priorities, but that doesn’t stop the worry that some malware could be put together by a malicious developer to keep track of what you get up to in your own home. Undoubtedly there will be a lot of security in place to prevent this from happening though, and as Microsoft’s LIVE network has generally seemed quite safe this worry shouldn’t be something to stop you buying the console, particularly as the benefits of it are obvious.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the Kinect being bundled with the Xbox One is that game developers will now know that they have this technology to work with. As the original Kinect is an optional extra from the Xbox 360 many developers have shied away from investing a lot of time and money into developing games for it, as that could alienate a large section of the population. Now that developers know what they are developing for we’re expecting to see both the voice and the motion control being used successfully to enhance the gaming experience. Until now the Kinect has really only been useful for some novelty and exercise titles, but this should open the door to some more serious games taking full advantage of the very impressive technology within.
Say what you will about motion sensing technology, the Kinect version 2 really is a wonder of our modern age. With a 1080p camera now built in and many enhancements to the rest of the hardware, the Kinect can now understand your entire body, from head to toe. Previous Kinect games have left users frustrated as the Xbox failed to react to their motion but this should definitely be a thing of the past. The new Kinect will be able to monitor the precise angle of your hands, how fast you move and even your mood based on advanced facial recognition. It can keep track of up to six people at once, and you don’t need anything like as much space as in the first version of Kinect that basically required your lounge to be the size of an Olympic swimming pool to work properly.
The technology within the Kinect should even be able to monitor your heart rate, based on the changing hue of your face. The technological advancements here are huge.
It’s not just about motion and the camera control though, it seems likely that the way most games will utilize the Kinect, along with the easiest way to navigate around the Xbox system, is through voice commands. It’s never been so easy to jump between your game and a Skype call and an internet browser and television. Voice recognition is always incorporated into the Xbox One, meaning the console will know who you are from your first command and will log you into your gamer profile accordingly. How well this works remains to be seen, but with your commands able to be heard over even the craziest of battles in Call of Duty of Halo, this could be an interesting way to control a squad or even just to pause a game.
It’s amazing to think that the Xbox One’s Kinect system is working so well months ahead of the console’s release. Microsoft is going to need to make the Kinect function as close to perfectly as possible due to forcing it onto its users, so it’s pleasing to see how positive the technology looks at this stage of its development.
Article by - Rebecca Waterman
Insert Date: 05/24/2013
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