Microsoft E3 2014: Kinect takes a backseat, no longer a focal point for Xbox One

Microsoft’s E3 conference is now over and the change in tune from the company, compared to last year, is because of direct feedback from consumers. Last year, Microsoft was all about TV integration, Kinect and third-party content but this year, it was a focus on games.

While we cannot fault Microsoft for putting the focus on the console back on gaming, what was a bit odd was that some of the other aspects of the console didn’t even get a mention - notably Kinect, which millions of users now own, got nearly zero stage time.

With the de-coupling of Kinect from the Xbox One, the product appears to essentially have been given a death sentence as developers now have little reason to code for the sensor. When you couple that with the lack of mention in the E3 2014 press conference, owning a Kinect is about as cool as buying an HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360.

On stage, Harmonix was the only team to mention Kinect with Dance Central and Fantasia. Kinect was not mentioned with tier 1 games like COD: AW or the Halo series. So, if you bought an Xbox One and were excited about using it with Kinect, you are out of luck.

Conveniently, Microsoft published a ‘future of Kinect’ post a few days’ back, and while it may not have anything to do with the lack of E3 announcements, the timing does raise suspicion.

The likely reality is that Kinect isn’t the gaming add-on Microsoft hoped it would be. For consumers, the Kinect offers ‘neat’ functionality but its usefulness has never shown to be greater than the traditional console controller. While the device certainly still has value in other niche areas, its purpose as an Xbox One gaming add-on is now significantly less than what Microsoft showed off last year.

Whether Microsoft will admit it or not, the future of Kinect as an Xbox One add-on is over and unless independent developers find unique uses for it, support from big publishers will be few and far between.

Microsoft also did not mention anything about its content deals that the company has been working on nor did they give the Surface any shout outs. This press event was all about games, which shows that the company listened to consumer feedback from E3 2013.

Image Credit: @benthepcguy

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Hey now that I think about it, it's true, I didn't notice any mention of Kinect features for any other games at E3. I can't say I'm disappointed but it's a shame that nobody seems to know what to do with it, I guess it's just the wrong time for such a product.

You mean the whole 3 launch titles for it wasnt a back seat enough? Developers had access long enough to Kinect 1 to come up with ideas for good games based on the system. The problem is they made them all and anything else was just a lame gimmick or sucked.

The Kinect is amazing, but it's not the end all be all and should've never been billed that way.

so, Microsoft blaming the lack 3rd party game-dev support for demise of kinect
instead of creating their own 1st party kinect games?

You're comparing E3 2014 to last year's Xbox One reveal that happened 2-3 weeks BEFORE E3 2013. They purposely did the reveal before E3 so that they could get the non-gaming stuff out of the way and focus on games at E3...

Kinect was the reason I would have purchased an Xbox1.

With the decoupling and now likely a lack of development going into games or its uses in the interaction of the Xbox1, I see no reason to jump on board with a platform that has no strategic leadership and is less powerful than its competitor.

I bought into the hype that tier one titles would get innovative additions, not as a controller replacement.

I guess it's too early for the mass market. Maybe Xbox vNext.

I was very disappointed in the lack of new IP or innovation this year. New COD, new Assassin's Creed, new Forza, new Fable, New Halo, etc, etc, etc. This "next gen" feels a bit too much like last gen with a higher pixel count.

The problem is that kinect never worked from day one, not properly.

Nintendo had the right idea, whilst you have to hold the motion controller, at least your movements mimicked what was on screen. No matter if you're a six foot tall adult, or a three foot child. Case in point, my kids can play bowling on the wii u, but not kinect bowling on the xbox one. The kinect doesn't see them properly.

Consumers these days expect a product to work, this is not the 90s anymore. If I say xbox on, the xbox needs to come on, first time, every time. When it's faster to navigate with the joypad, then waving your arms about, somethings not right. Make it faster and easier, not a gimmick!

If it worked well, and people liked it, they would buy it. Forcing people to have something they don't want was asking for trouble. I'm pleased they have a blooded nose.

90s Microsoft doesn't work in 2014 anymore. Consumers tell corporates what they want, not the other way around.

Last year, Microsoft was all about TV integration, Kinect and third-party content but this year, it was a focus on games.

this article fails on so many levels. last years E3 didnt focus on tv or kinect either, it was all about games too. that stuff about tv was at the reveal,not e3. i think the only mention of kinect at e3 was when they mentioned the twitch integration. not only that, but kinect is still featured as a distinct feature of xbox one on the newest tv commercials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=606qxyYbo58

Perhaps Microsoft is finally realizing that its core users for xbox are more traditional gamers. Kinect has its place for entertainment and workout games, but thats not the largest user base

For me, I'm happy with using Kinect only for entertainment and ease of use stuff. I think accuracy will improve a lot with Cortana on WP eventually making its way to xbox and all the voice feedback they'll get with it all, and I like the idea of a single personal digital assistant across my devices.

For me Kinect was always best used for this kind of stuff and not games, or maybe to supplement games a little (like in some games calling out grenade etc. - and no a simple mic isn't enough you need the multiple mics found on the Kinect) along with auto sign in and obvious web cam functions.

Agreed, they should have just released a cheap WiiSpeak-style room mic for the system instead of the whole camera thing. Then we'd all have the ease of use stuff and lower price tag.

Athernar said,
It never pays to try and force a product. Either it takes off or it doesn't, and Kinect didn't.

Well, truthfully, I think it was the price tag. MS didn't subsidize the XBO like they did the 360. If they had, and sold it at $400 with Kinect? Sales figures might've been different. That, and the XBO being less powerful are both factors. The Kinect didn't matter except for what it did to the price.

Chikairo said,

Well, truthfully, I think it was the price tag. MS didn't subsidize the XBO like they did the 360. If they had, and sold it at $400 with Kinect? Sales figures might've been different. That, and the XBO being less powerful are both factors. The Kinect didn't matter except for what it did to the price.

That wouldn't have done anything to "save" the Kinect though, it certainly would've made the Xbox One itself more appealing to consumers however.

The "problem" is Kinect is a niche device with a fairly limited useful scope, and the majority of gamers don't have any use for it beyond gimmicks.

Athernar said,
It never pays to try and force a product. Either it takes off or it doesn't, and Kinect didn't.

One might say it just... didn't kinect! :woot:

I'll see myself out now...

tbh I'm rather dissapoint about all this. Just sad that MS let this thing die by not giving people enough things to do with it.