Evolution of the Console Controller – Microsoft Kinect (2010)

The Kinect is a motion sensing controller developed by Microsoft for the Xbox 360. Radically different from previous console controllers, the player is not required to hold a physical device at any time. Instead, the player’s entire body becomes the controller. Although the Kinect was a commercial success, Kinect games are frequently criticized for being difficult to control and for appealing most to casual audiences.

For input, Kinect houses an RGB camera, range sensors, and microphone. Combining these technologies allows a 360 to accept both voice and gestural inputs. Waving a hand horizontally in front of Kinect can be used to slide through menu items, and tilting your hands as though you were gripping a steering wheel is used to steer in several racing games.

Triggering exactly the action you need with excellent timing is difficult with the Kinect. Game designers have tried to compensate for this by requiring less precise actions from the player. Microsoft has required that all Kinect games use only the player’s body for control. The exception, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, used both Kinect and a 360 controller and was hoped to lead into more challenging gameplay. However, it was poorly received by critics because the imprecise Kinect controls make effective gameplay almost impossible.

Up to Modern Era – Back to Wii Remote – Forward to PlayStation Move

Gift of Ben Wilhelm, 2012.025.012