Microsoft promises the Kinect sensor can do many surprising and impressive things in that will enhance gameplay.
The Kinect sensor has always featured a specific array of capabilities: from audio commands to tracking motion-controlled navigation, the Kinect has help define the advent of mo-cap gaming.
Microsoft is pushing the boundaries of motion-controlled technology even further with the Xbox One’s bundled Kinect 2.0 sensor, which will build upon the impressive functions set forth by its current-gen predecessor.
The upgraded peripheral will feature a host of new content–such as video recording and live streaming–to compliment the Xbox One–however it’s been a costly venture for the Redmond-based gaming giant.
To highlight some of the impressive capabilities of the Kinect 2.0, Phil Harrison revealed in a talk at this year’s Eurogamer Expo that the sensor will be able to understand two people talking at the same time.
Nick Burton, the Kinect’s lead developer, told Harrison that the sensor could not only identify when two people are talking but also interpret what they’re saying, and can even scan to see when their mouths are moving in lower lighting conditions.
This might be daunting to some, especially after this year’s recent privacy scare–but Microsoft has affirmed that the Kinect will not record or make available any audio or video footage (that is to say that it won’t be spying on you):
“Users are in control of what Kinect can see and hear. By design, you will determine how responsive and personalized your Xbox One is to you and your family during setup.
“When Xbox One is on and you’re simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded.”
It will be interesting to see how dynamic the Kinect’s speech recognition is, and if it can pick out certain commands that are cleverly hidden in everyday conversation. The sensor itself can do many surprising and impressive things, and it will no-doubt amplify a variety of entertainment offerings including gaming, watching television, or working out with the newly launched Xbox Fitness Service.
For those gamers who aren’t impressed with the interactivity of the peripheral, the Kinect can be turned off without compromising gameplay via the Xbox One–but Microsoft has repeatedly said that they have no plans to introduce a Kinect-less console to the retail market.
While the device itself is a spectacle of technological prowess, it is the main reason why the Xbox One is $100 more than the PS4–a price point that has deterred many gamers. The Kinect 2.0 is nonetheless a stepping stone in defining the next-generation of console gaming, and it will bring a unique entertainment experience to the world when its released alongside the Xbox One on Nov. 22, 2013.