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