The future of the Xbox 360 is looking bright. The little white box that could is ploughing ahead and, arguably, leading the market at the moment. A host of talented developers have created games for the Xbox 360 and this stream of talent doesn’t seem to be at risk of drying out any time soon. The Xbox 360 is everywhere -- on the web, on the side of buses, screaming at you from your TV screen. It’s perhaps the most successful console in gaming history, in terms of sales. The little white box, in short, makes big green money.
It could be argued that the Xbox 360’s success is due to its mass appeal. Microsoft’s console appeals to the hordes of ‘hardcore’ gamers just as much as it does to the masses of ‘casual’ gamers which have adopted the new technology. Microsoft has, in some instances, even managed to blur the lines between casual and hardcore -- a huge achievement. However, Microsoft has decided to go one further with the release of its Kinect peripheral, a camera-based device which works in a way not dissimilar to Sony’s EyeToy experiment. It is clear that the release of the Kinect is a concentrated effort to bridge the gap once and for all between casual and hardcore.
Bill Gates watches you sleep
However, there’s a problem. Kinect is making plenty of money from the ‘casual’ slice of the market; but the ‘hardcore’ gamers want nothing to do with Microsoft’s new peripheral. The casual gamers are happy with such games as Kinectimals
and Kinect Adventures
, but those ‘hardcore’ gamers who purchased the peripheral have been left bitterly disappointed with its lack of engaging experiences. The gap, consequently, is left wide open.
Microsoft isn’t exactly struggling for money, but after the millions poured into Kinect’s development and marketing Bill Gates and his evil minions are obviously looking to make a return on their new venture. To do this, Microsoft needs to extend its reach from the casual market over to the hardcore market and encapsulate both camps. There are a number of ways in which they could do this.
I believe that Microsoft should commission a Heavy Rain
-style game for its Kinect peripheral. The cute little camera-based device is crying out for a game with true quality: something with a deep, involving narrative which makes demands of its technology. I believe that a game of this kind would attract a certain species of refined gamer and, in turn, more would follow along with these intrepid adventurers.
Admit it: you wouldn't say no to this
I have very limited understanding of how exactly Kinect works, but I believe that Microsoft could make a light gun peripheral co-operate with Kinect with the aid of one of its technological wizards. This is another option to attract ‘hardcore’ gamers to Microsoft’s new peripheral -- the creation of an universal light gun suited to first-person shooters similar to those found in arcades. Microsoft could potentially convince the dedicated Call of Duty
regiment to drop the controller and embrace Kinect in one fell swoop.
The famed Call of Duty regiment
These are just two of my ideas for Microsoft’s new peripheral. In order to thrive, Microsoft has to come up with ideas of its own to make Kinect a truly ‘must-have’ accessory. It’s clear to me -- and the gaming industry as a whole -- that Microsoft has to drop some truly revolutionary ideas before a peripheral with genuine potential fades into obscurity.