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Kinect and GamePad are both deadweights

Kinect and GamePad are both deadweights

Fri 14 Feb 2014 7:44am GMT / 2:44am EST / 11:44pm PST
Hardware

Microsoft and Nintendo have the same problem - expensive peripherals that so far don't improve the experience of their consoles

It's pretty hard to figure out exactly where the new generation of consoles stand in terms of sales right now, but the general picture is clear. PS4, still supply constrained in many markets, leads Xbox One by at least a million consoles sold, possibly as much as two million - so the oft-cited ratio of 1.5:1 seems to be holding. Assuming little else changes, that ratio will tip even further in Sony's favour in the coming weeks, with the PS4 finally launching in Japan, a market where it can expect to sell very strongly - although I wouldn't expect to see the dominant 3DS removed from the top of the hardware charts for too many weeks. Meanwhile, Nintendo's rather less successful console, the Wii U, continues to lose ground to both of the newcomers and will likely be surpassed in overall sales by Sony some time this month (if it has not been so already) and by Microsoft within the next quarter.

It's important to put this in some context - the Xbox One would look like a pretty successful console launch if it wasn't stacked up against the PS4, but eyebrows would still be raised over the slackness in demand for what would be expected to be a fully supply constrained launch. Meanwhile, Wii U's performance wouldn't look great in any reality, but certainly wouldn't be attracting the current degree of fainting and pearl-grasping were it not being compared to the extraordinary success of its own predecessor, the Wii.

"I'd argue that the real problem with these innovative pieces of kit isn't that they're inflating the price - the real problem is that they are, so far, utterly pointless"

The only console among them which resists any attempt at contextual negativity is the PS4, which is performing incredibly well. Hardly anyone has a bad word to say about the PS4, other than "I can't find one to buy" - the hardware has turned out to be very solid; the online services (PS Plus in particular) are well-liked; and Sony's approach of wooing key indie developers to the console for launch period has helped to stock the console with early adopter friendly titles which generate plenty of goodwill as the wider market waits for big AAA hits to filter through. Giving several of these games away on PS Plus, especially while new owners are in their freebie period, has also been a great move.

It's hard to argue against a surface reading of this situation which says that Sony has executed superbly on its product while Microsoft and Nintendo have stumbled. Nintendo dropped the ball on Wii U software for its first year, arguably at least, and made a mess of marketing its new console - just as it initially did with the 3DS, which makes me wonder exactly what compromising pictures of Iwata the firm's amazingly still-not-fired marketing bosses are keeping in a concrete bunker somewhere. Microsoft lost the trust and goodwill of a huge swathe of the early adopter audience, especially outside the USA, when it announced the Xbox One as a TV-watching box, compounded its error with a horribly anti-consumer policy on used software, then changed its mind on the latter (a good thing, but much damage was already done) and botched the execution of the former. Now it's got a mountain to climb to restore goodwill, a console that's $100 more expensive than its well-liked rival and a fresh salvo of unflattering technical comparisons between the systems emerging each week - a tough position, to say the least.

I think that beyond that surface reading, there's something more fundamental at work - a level on which both Nintendo and Microsoft made the same mistake. Sony's PS4 isn't just superbly executed, it's also conservative. It's a powerful console with great engineering behind it, a great OS and network services, and a superb messaging strategy in which Mark Cerny and Shuhei Yoshida, who are actually at the coalface of developing the system and its software, have been allowed to take very public roles and to speak openly and honestly. That's all fantastic, but PS4 is also very clearly an evolution of what came before. In architectural terms it's vastly different from PS3, of course, but from a consumer standpoint - here's a black box that you stick discs into and then play them with a Dual Shock pad. You can play with your friends online, and even buy games online, but arguably the only real departures from the traditional console model lie with the online services - PS Plus (which existed on PS3 as well, of course) and video streaming.

"It feels like both companies want to bottle some of the magic which fuelled the Wii to such great heights in the last generation, but they've forgotten that the real magic of the Wii wasn't actually the Wiimote - it was Wii Sports"

Xbox One and Wii U are less conservative, because both of them make some effort to change the interface and context of videogames. Xbox One includes a vastly updated and improved Kinect motion sensor, which shoulders the brunt of the blame for the console's inflated price tag. The sensor, like its predecessor, is designed to map and understand the movement of human bodies around the room in front of it - unlike its predecessor, it actually appears to be capable of doing so very well. The Wii U, meanwhile, includes the GamePad, a touchscreen controller that lets you play games even while others are watching something else on TV, but more interestingly, also creates a second screen for gameplay and has potential uses in asymmetric multiplayer, wherein one player uses the screen to set up a game while others use Wii Remotes to tackle the challenges being created.

Both of these things are interesting. Both of these things, inevitably, inflate the price of the console to which they're attached. Both Wii U and Xbox One could seriously do with being $100 cheaper than they are right now - such a price cut wouldn't be the end of their woes, especially in the case of Wii U, but it would level the playing field and make everything much more interesting. Yet I'd argue that the real problem with these innovative pieces of kit isn't that they're inflating the price - the real problem is that they are, so far, utterly pointless. Not only have both Microsoft and Nintendo failed to create software that effectively capitalises on the potential of Kinect or the GamePad, both firms have also completely failed to explain the devices to consumers in a way that stands any hope of making them excited about such potential. The very fact that the first reaction of many consumers and commentators to weak sales from these consoles is "get rid of Kinect / the GamePad!" is a demonstration of just how badly communication, explanation and demonstration of these features has failed.

It could be, of course, that the features themselves just aren't much good. I think the potential of the GamePad remains to be tapped, but have some sympathy with the argument that Kinect, even in its vastly upgraded Xbox One incarnation, is a solution for which no readily apparent problem can be found. Certainly its present function, as an utterly sub-par way of controlling the console's menu functions and an occasional shoehorned annoyance in games, does little to explain why this expensive piece of hardware is a mandatory part of Xbox One - yet I know that there are plenty of enthusiastic and intelligent games people at Microsoft, and there must be a genuine belief that Kinect 2 can deliver unique and worthwhile experiences that won't be possible on other consoles. The problem is that, just as with the thus-far largely meaningless GamePad, Microsoft has failed to demonstrate or articulate just what those experiences will be.

"[Kinect's] mandatory inclusion may go down as one of the worst self-inflicted wounds of any console battle in history"

In short, I think consumers are confused about what exactly Nintendo and Microsoft want to sell them. Sony's proposition is clear - it's a much-upgraded and improved successor to the PS3, which was a much-upgraded and improved successor to the PS2, and so on. Nintendo and Microsoft make claim to be something more than that, then mumble incoherently when asked what exactly they mean, or what precisely they're proposing to achieve.

It feels like both companies want to bottle some of the magic which fuelled the Wii to such great heights in the last generation, but they've forgotten that the real magic of the Wii wasn't actually the Wiimote - it was Wii Sports. In one superbly crafted game, bundled free with the console in many territories, Nintendo explained exactly what the Wii was for. A few minutes with Wii Sports showed anyone and everyone what the Wiimote was designed to do and how it would change the game experience. Moreover, it set out a clear agenda for the console as a whole - a social machine, a family machine, an accessible machine. Wii Sports wasn't just a game, it was a powerful demonstration, a mission statement and perhaps the greatest piece of marketing anyone in the games industry has ever crafted.

The Xbox One and the Wii U both have their Wiimote, but neither has their Wii Sports. One of Satoru Iwata's big pledges in his mea culpa speech after Nintendo's projections were downgraded was that the firm would double down on the GamePad, creating software and marketing that would explain the controller better to the public. If that means finding the Wii U's Wii Sports, it will absolutely be a worthwhile effort - it doesn't have to mean establishing the Wii U in the same market as the Wii, but making a clear mission statement for the console would definitely help. Microsoft, too, needs some of that focus. Right now, Kinect 2 is not differentiating Xbox One in the marketplace - it's just hanging around the console's neck like a deadweight. Unless Microsoft can find the software and the messaging required to make Kinect into a real system-seller, its mandatory inclusion may go down as one of the worst self-inflicted wounds of any console battle in history.

83 Comments

Jamie Read
Junior 3D Artist

117 52 0.4
Popular Comment
I think the Wii U gamepad is great, it's just not being used creatively enough by most developers yet.

Posted:2 months ago

#1

Christophe Danguien
games developer

64 78 1.2
Totally agree with Jamie. Have those guys played on Zombi U ? The gamepad isn't used as much as it should be, but it's immersing you much more to see your character looking into their bag while you're checking your items on the gamepad and possible attack at any moment...
I finished Zombi U, tried Resident Evil port demo, and just thought RE is just gone as a survival horror licence and is nowhere near the stress/enjoyment I had on Zombi U

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christophe Danguien on 14th February 2014 9:12am

Posted:2 months ago

#2

Kirsty Rigden
Operations Director

13 14 1.1
Another +1 for Jamie. Sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world who thinks the Wii U is great, probably because (sadly) not many people have used one for a prolonged amount of time. The gamepad offers so much potential for new gameplay, particularly local multi-player games where you could hide information from the other players. Just look at Mario Chase for a brief glimpse of the possibilities. I know I'm probably living in a naive little bubble, but I really believe that we haven't seen the 'killer app' yet. Nintendo have a history of creating new hardware when they have a new idea that needs it. I believe/hope that they are simply taking their time with it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kirsty Rigden on 14th February 2014 9:53am

Posted:2 months ago

#3

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
but it's immersing you much more to see your character looking into their bag while you're checking your items on the gamepad and possible attack at any moment.
That could have been done with a simple overlay.

Posted:2 months ago

#4

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
Popular Comment
I think the gamepad works really well, is a logical successor to the wiimote as an approachable controller (one works like a tv remote, one works like a tablet). Controlling the console's OS with the touchscreen is very, very accessible, and off TV play is so seamless you forget the processing is going on across the room.

But Rob's right, it needs a wii sports equivalent to "sell" it to people.

@Tom - that argument comes up a lot, and I don't buy it. It's like saying you could replace a swing in wii sports tennis with a button press - of course you could, but it's much more "immersive" if you don't. Glancing at the gamepad is much simpler action than a button press to do the same effect, too.

Posted:2 months ago

#5

André Noller
Creative Director & Co-founder

4 2 0.5
Both peripherals are lacking good games.
Microsoft and Nintendo should open themselves more towards Indie developers and push their hardware down their throats with some incentive.
Indie developers are the ones that can make creative games without the pressure of the shareholders or the pressure to meet astronomic sales figures (which why many big publishers may end up developing the seemingly sure shot “Dance”, “Fitness”, “Fighting” or “Sports” title…).
I do not want to know, how many Indie games could have been funded with the production costs of titles like “Fighter Within” (sorry, I do not want to disrespect the developers, but imo this is an appropriate question).
I can’t see what keeps them from doing so?

Posted:2 months ago

#6

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,118 888 0.8
Popular Comment
I think the WiiU Gamepad has the same potential that the Nintendo DS presented with its dual screens.

Posted:2 months ago

#7

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

317 174 0.5
My enncounter with the wii game pad was also positive. Only used it once or twice in development for a sanity check on the wii u build but it felt pretty good in your hands. I think its problems stem from the reveal and marketing strategies. There were a lot of nae sayers in the industry with regards to the Wii U when they showed it for the first time. I feel Nintendo could have been a bit more aggressive in defending it and showing off its useability with a wider range of great examples.

Posted:2 months ago

#8
Popular Comment
Probably worth noting that PS4 has the option of Kinect-like (though perhaps not as high-fidelity) control with its camera, and an analogous touch screen controller in the PS Vita. While neither of these are mandatory, it does mean that Sony is ready to go should killer apps appear that require either the touch screen gamepad, or jumping around waving wildly in front of a camera option.

Posted:2 months ago

#9

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

178 880 4.9
Popular Comment
I think that the article hits the nail on the head with the Wii Sports comparison. The console audience is, let's face it, very conservative. They like to buy games at brick and mortar stores, they like their gamepad, they like their games' names to contain a large number at the end...
Wii Sports showed these people that Wiimote is cool, that faked Project Natal/ Milo demonstration nearly melted their brains to the level they willingly bought Kinects at large. The success of the original Kinect perhaps even blinded Microsoft. They were so sure that it is the new water cooler that they didn't see that the majority of their customers are already out of the Kinect bandwagon due to exactly zero games that made meaningful use of Kinect and appealed to the conservative masses at once.

I don't know... does anybody actually LIKE gesture and voice controls? My new TV could do gestures and voice and I was so frustrated by it in about two days that I had to turn it off, because it kept switching channels when I scratched my head or was starting Skype based on random things that were said around it.

For me, these two fall into the same category as home 3D, or cloud gaming - it will be incredibly cool when it works, but right now, it's only for the enthusiasts, not the mass market. Microsoft needs to drop Kinect.

Posted:2 months ago

#10

André Noller
Creative Director & Co-founder

4 2 0.5
That’s one big problem you mention here.
Motion control games are often clumsy. True. But why is that so?
Is it the hardware’s fault? Or are there simply too many games / apps that want to deliver an experience the hardware is not capable of? The Kinect 1 and 2 is not the promised “Holodeck” like experience as shown in the Project Natal videos.
But that does not mean that motion controls are completely useless. We need simpler games that utilize the strength of hardware like the Kinect or the PS4 Eye cam and come with a below 10 $ / € price tag, so that people can get the most out of their purchase and experience different game designs built with motion control in mind from the get go.

Posted:2 months ago

#11

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
I think the WiiU Gamepad has the same potential that the Nintendo DS presented with its dual screens.
On the DS, it works, because both screens are within your view (view frustrum) and as such, require little to no eye movement to change where you look at. With the WiiU, the eye movement is much larger, and often requires the user to change focus (both eye focus and mental) - and this can feel tiring after a prolonged session. This is one reason HUD was installed in planes - lets the pilot keep his eyes where the plane is going (maintaining situational awareness) and still have important information speed, altitude display within his field of vision. This greatly reduces the workload...
In other words, the GamePad is a remote, you are either looking at the gamepad, or at the TV, but not both. As for extra controls, it could be useful, but you still have swap your attention if you want to operate the WiiU GamePad controls. Again, HOTAS in planes was invented for the same purpose : keep your hands on the controls, your eyes where your plane goes. Just like a traditional gamepad.... How many people look at the joypad while playing?

Posted:2 months ago

#12

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
It's like saying you could replace a swing in wii sports tennis with a button press - of course you could, but it's much more "immersive" if you don't. Glancing at the gamepad is much simpler action than a button press to do the same effect, too
It would be even more immersive to display that information on the screen. Swing (motion control) is no the same thing as forcing you to look somwhere else.

Posted:2 months ago

#13

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

178 880 4.9
@ Andre: I think the problem is both in hardware and software. Gesture controls will work when we can make subtle gestures with our fingers. Switching channels? I don't want to wave both my arms around like a monkey. I want to move my index finger back and forth. The same applies for games. I can imagine controlling a less-action oriented game using gestures - but subtle gestures...fingers and wrists... and the hardware is not capable of that at the moment.

Secondly, the interface is wrong. The TV I mentioned, as well as a lot of Kinect games I tried, use mouse pointer that I control with my hand as the controls mechanism in menus. What a TERRIBLE idea. Inaccurate and frustrating. And the same goes for games. Nobody really managed to came with a reasonable way to control "hardcore" games using gestures. And nobody came with a "hardcore" game, where gestures may be the primary input. It is a shame... considering how popular crafting games are at the moment, I can imagine actually using my hands to craft new items... alas I don't think that there will be a game that will let me.

And I am an enthusiast who approaches these things with the mindset that I really want to like them. The mass market is much less forgiving. My girlfriend enjoys zumba exercises, so I decided to be the best boyfriend ever and bought Kinect and Zumba Fitness for her. Two years later, she still blames me for the most frustrating and unusable gift she has ever gotten in her life ;-)

Posted:2 months ago

#14

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

410 455 1.1
Great article Rob. Agreed on the point about the gamepad, though I haven't had any hands on with Xbox One so I can't judge that. The gamepad itself is surprisingly light, very comfortable to hold, and very responsive. The complete lack of lag with the display is fantastic. But alarmingly for Nintendo, the two games I felt made best use of it--ZombiU and Rayman Legends--are third party titles. Nintendo normally make their own hardware sing, and despite some excellent software on Wii U, they've yet to justify the gamepad. Even the GameCube pad, which was largely identical to contemporary controllers, had titles like Metroid Prime, that made the controller sing. As you point out, Wii had Wii Sports. But it also had a new Zelda on day one. Within eighteen months, Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime, Wii Party, Wii Fit were all on the market, and they were complimented by a dozen smaller Nintendo titles. Nintendo's biggest problem with Wii U is that they've dropped on the ball on software, and with 3DS trumping the Wii U in every category--price, accessibility, digital offerings, Nintendo software (both in terms of quantity and quality), third party software--Wii U is by far the least desirable Nintendo system on the market, and this is made worse by how similar Nintendo handheld software has become when compared to Nintendo home console software. A huge shame to see Nintendo let their own hardware down so badly, and I hope Nintendo and Microsoft clarify, and justify their visions for home console gaming.

Posted:2 months ago

#15
I could have told MS execs that Kinect was DOA before they launched it. It's a gimmick that was not designed to solve a problem or satisfy a need. They made kinect because it could be done and then wanted game designers to try and find uses for it. Designers did their best but they can't turn crap into gold.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kim Soares on 14th February 2014 12:05pm

Posted:2 months ago

#16

Sandy Lobban
Founder and Creative Director

317 174 0.5
In general when us old gamers are trying to sell the idea of an Xbox to the wife, something like a kinect and the "gaming together as a family and with friends" card probably yields more power than a randomly timed bunch of flowers. I'm pretty sure the Wii sold as many as it did on that social component as well. Wii Sports obviously helped.

Consoles manufacturers that were percieved as less family friendly and less social when the Wii was sellng bucketloads felt they were missing a trick, hence microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Move. Sony sorta missed that opportunity at the time, even though they started it with singstar.

As for the Wii U. They probably should have just called it the Wii2

Posted:2 months ago

#17

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
@Tom different kinds of immersive. Looking at a second screen may break you out of "the zone" in games that require concentration, but games with a hint of role play to them (as with most good uses of the wiimote) can benefit form giving the player more "realistic" actions to perform.

Posted:2 months ago

#18

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

193 424 2.2
Great write up Rob, bull's-eye.
It could be, of course, that the features themselves just aren't much good.
.
I think this might be the overall problem with both products. Motion and voice-command is still technologically under-developed.

Regarding motion it's quite a hassle to have to do wide swipes to the screen to get a reading from the kinect, it just gets naturally tiring after a while if the session is long enough or the game demanding enough in that aspect, 15 to 30 minutes in you just want to put your arms down (possibliy sit down if required to stand up) since it's just a hassle coming from something that is supposed to make things easier and more accessible, not drag you though a physical exercise session.
A kinect device will only be ready for mass market (read success) when subtle hand (not arm) motions can be detected to some 90% accuracy to browse or interact comfortably with your screen.

The Wii pad has a similar issue, Tom nailed it on his post so I won't delve further, but the HOTAS analogy is 100% accurate.
I'm a big big Nintendo fan, love my Windwaker HD and I had Zombie U, but sold it out of frustration of an unpolished game and having to bob my head up and down constantly.

And as for voice commands I think we're just not there yet, it's a hassle on pretty much anything that is too complex to manage with what little voice recognition and AI (if we can call it that) the kinect or TV's have to offer. To have it understand if we're talking to it, or to another human, or to have it understand multiple words without having to press hard on all syllables.

In the end these gimmicks need to adapt to our natural (ergo comfortable) ways of movement and speech, not vice-versa. The PS4 did it right because it wasn't running for president, it was running to appeal the gamers, the fans.

Posted:2 months ago

#19

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
Oh, good lord. can some developer drop ME a line so I can sell them my damn idea on something to get that GamePad used as it needs to be? Anyway, the GP isn't a bad idea or "dead" as it seems that second screen experiences KEEP getting yakked about by people who want you to buy a damn expensive tablet or use your phone to "enhance" games and media that DON'T need it.

Nintendo just hasn't done more with the tech that impressed me when I first saw it because it LOOKED as if they were going to do just that. That ticks me off to no end because I predicted that if they got off their game and didn't get it right from day one, people wouldn't see the potential and get posting well-written articles like this one that basically say it was a waste of time. Foo.

Posted:2 months ago

#20

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
I agree with the first comment (Jamie Read) in which the gamepad isnt used to its full potential by developers.

But honestly im not really feeling kinect and really dont see it as essential. As few games use it and the ones that do, a very small portion of them are actually good. And as far as the Media browser and Xbox UI Id rather use a regular remote to browse through them. Infact a romete is coming out for XB1. Like wise, I tried the playstation eye camera. It has voice functionality, dont know if its as robust as XB1 but i can do stuff with voice command. Its just i still rather do it with the game pad. I did enjoy those little AR robots from the playstation 4 playroom app. And I do think AR games offer alot of potential for motion control and voice command technology and family friendly games. But developers havent really tapped into that.

Regarding the WiiU gamepad. Of the 3 new consoles, I belive it offered the most potential for the way games are currently played. I belive its a step up like what shoulder buttons and analog sticks were. I like having the second screen. In fact I think its an indispensible feature now. I think it should become standard with every console game pad, like shoulder buttons and analog sticks, as it offers customizable controls for individual games.

The Gamepad offers an infinite button layout. I find it well suited for stratagy and RPG games. The physical buttons will always be essential and heavy actions that you use regularly should be mapped to the fisical buttons. However for certain miner actions, browsing menus and more game specific actions like an RPG, you can have touch screen features that allow you to asign specific actions to individual characters and you can have members of your party do differant things, you can draw paths around a map for individual characters, You can tell a sniper to go on the roof top of a building to take while other party members fight the enemy on the ground. Or you can have a character flank the enemy from behind or a chaaracter open a switch while you act as a decoy and lure the enemy away. You can assign individual characters to go into stealth mode and sneak up on differant enemy units while you act as a decoy and throw a bomb to gain there attention. All with the touch screen.

I just think, nintendo failed in the gamepad design. It looks bulky, clunky, plasticy and cumbersome. If it were more stylish as a PSVita people would react towards it differantly, cause it does look like a toy made by fisher price. They could have easily packed it in with a silicone sleeve to protect it from kids..

Posted:2 months ago

#21

André Noller
Creative Director & Co-founder

4 2 0.5
@Jakub

I do not want to make self-promotion here, but we are currently working on a game for PlayStation 4 Eye camera where we want to apply the things I have mentioned in my post before. If you want to have a look at it, visit our website (link in my profile here).

Posted:2 months ago

#22

Felix Leyendecker
Senior 3D Artist

184 196 1.1
I absolutely agree that nintendo has dropped the ball on the software side. They always came up with fantastic games that made their control schemes sing, but they have utterly failed to do so for the WiiU.
I find it sad that donkey kong country: tropical freeze will apparently simply show a blank white screen on the gamepad. This is an exclusive first party title, and they have absolutely zero ideas on utilizing the gamepad? Come on.

To Nintendo's defense, you could argue that gaming in general has moved away from the social, local multiplayer scenario with a group of people playing in front of the same TV. This is the scenario where the gamepad can truly shine (see nintendo land), but it is happening less and less, because the WiiU is not a mainstream hit, and casual users don't have one. So there's a less strong incentive for making games for this scenario than there used to be in Wii times, where the casual audience was still on board.
Hardcore gamers prefer solitary experiences or online multiplayer, and the gamepad becomes almost pointless in this scenario. Had Nintendo captured the mainstream audience like they did with the Wii, everyone would be singing the gamepad's praises.

Posted:2 months ago

#23

Robin Clarke
Producer

275 600 2.2
One of the biggest mistakes Nintendo made with the WiiU was taking the focus off the Wii Remote.

Touch screens are great but they're a poor fit with the console + TV setup.

Posted:2 months ago

#24

Christian Slater
DevilBliss Games Consultancy

25 43 1.7
I fear if there was a Wii U killer app it would have appeared by now.

Anecdotal evidence: A year or so back I asked on the Chase Engine industry forum if anybody there had an idea of how the second screen could be used in an innovative, fun or even just novel way. I got literally zero responses.

Posted:2 months ago

#25

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
Starfox, one player flying on the TV, second player controlling a gun turret with the pad, ideally with the pad in hands extended using it as a "window" looking into a gameworld surrounding him. Not sure, if the WiiU can do that and beyond that, there isn't much you can do with a second screen, as proven by the DS for 10 years now. It's not like we look at those games and say they were never possible, if the system had one screen. They'd have to be adapted, sure, but nor impossible.

Posted:2 months ago

#26

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
The second screen has lots a possibilities. And it can serve much more than just a navigational map or controlling a gun. Its great for RPG's and stratagy games. And good for shooters and squad based games or games that have multiple character on screen like The Last Story. I see the benefits it can bring to game menu systems and actions like choosing weapons and secondary functions on the fly leaving the physical buttons more more repetitive actions like aiming, jumping and shooting.

But here is an nice idea for platformers and shooters or 3rd person shooters like fuse or realtime combat RPGs... a second player can take control any enemy on the screen and attack the main player at anytime and if the second player is killed by the main player he can always take control of any enemy on the screen adding the human elemant to enemy AI controllled opponents. This can extend to NPC's or summons.

Likewise, im going to wait on Watchdogs to see what they do on WiiU. I can deal with a little less graphical fidelity if the secondary gamepad functions are interesting.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 19th February 2014 7:08pm

Posted:2 months ago

#27
I think, with regards to Kinect 2, the simple fact is the general public and the Zeitgeist are just not ready for motion and voice activated control yet. whereas, perhaps when we have everyday minority report type UI and interfaces, then such technologywill be perfectly suitable. For now, it might be too far ahead of its time, in execution.

Posted:2 months ago

#28

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
have one player fighting an impossible boss, have gamepad player sabotage the boss to make him beatable (stunning, whiffing, etc). both players required to win and must work together and strategize in order to do so.
Rayman legends tends into this in coop - the player on the gamepad can swap to a touch controlled character to assist the remaining traditional player(s). Works well.

Posted:2 months ago

#29

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

337 103 0.3
I'd have to disagree, with Kinect 2 I have been using it lots and had plenty of use out of it which has improved my Xbox experience. I know quite a few people that have thought the same too.

Does it add to games? Maybe not, but it adds to the whole console experience.

Posted:2 months ago

#30

Robin Clarke
Producer

275 600 2.2
Has is added $100 worth to the "experience"?

Posted:2 months ago

#31

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
The Gamepad offers an infinite button layout.
But still does not give physical feedback. So you need to look at it. Not ideal for every usage.

Posted:2 months ago

#32

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
The Gamepad offers an infinite button layout.
But still does not give physical feedback. So you need to look at it. Not ideal for every usage.

Posted:2 months ago

#33

Kevin Patterson
musician

181 93 0.5
As a long time Xbox Fan, who bought an Xbox and Xbox 360 at launch, I haven't been that excited about the Xbox One since the rumors started. I was saddened and dismayed at MS's anti-consumer tactics and glad for the 180 on that, but also unhappy with the direction they took the Xbox brand with it's TV TV Sports Sports opening salvo, and making a lesser powered box compared to the PS4. This just didn't fit with what I had come to love and expect with the brand I supported from the beginning. I never wanted the kinect for the 360, and never wanted it for the Xbox One either. The Kinect was more of a gimmick to me, and I just never had much interest in it. The fact they are charging $100 more for the Xbox One when it's game capabilities are less than the PS4's is probably the biggest factor on why it's lagging behind. When the next Halo launches, thats going to sell systems, the question is, will it be enough to sell a ton of systems at that $499 pricepoint? I would imagine their would have to be some bundle to counter the price difference.

I find it interesting that the bulk of my friends who are gamers, who have all bought Xbox's at launch previously, have not bought an Xbox One. A few have bought PS4's, but the bulk of them are back to PC gaming as their main choice thanks to the rise of Steam and other online gaming services. Steam has become the new Xbox live for my personal gaming community, and the bulk don't seem to want an Xbox One. I doubt my personal experience is in any way unique on this, so I wonder how Steam has affected the Xbox One.

Posted:2 months ago

#34

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
@Klaus: Or something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNftDrEzj10

There also should have been a Fatal Frame game using the GamePad and I'll say it again, Pokemon and Animal Crossing WOULD have been hits as launch/launch window titles for the console with proper GamePad support (or without it, but let's get smarty and say it's IN there!). No Star Wars game on the system hurt, I'm sure (I'm sure I'm not the only one who missed a Factor 5 SW game on a Nintendo console again since they closed up).

Even some of the mini-games on NintendoLand could have been expanded into full version games had there been enough time to do so (and foresight to see how and where those games could have been made into either full on or even downloadable episodic content). And so forth and so on...

I had dozens of ideas as soon as I saw the thing, but yeah... it seems that Nintendo wanted to

And Tom K: Physical feedback in important, but I can recall when NO games used it and it wasn't too big a deal. I'm gathering some sort of Rumble Pak could be made for the thing by a third party, but I guess weight, balance and the possibility of damaging the screen or what's inside the pad need to be taken into consideration...

Posted:2 months ago

#35
I think for something like the gamepad on the WiiU to work, it must be cheap enough that 2 of them come with system, and that a another 2 or more can be purchased cheaply. The reason I say that is the what the private screen allows is for all types of in person party and card games to work well, and even games like Madden and so forth to work better.

Lets be honest we all cheated and sorta watched what plays our buddies were likely choosing in games like Madden. With more game pads with private screen, it allow for all sorts of cool card based games and so forth to be played in the same living room. To me thats a real upside, it allows all sorts of game to be created that calls for private "inventories" or decisions or decks to be had.

The problem as I see it with just single person games with the secondary game control screen is .... we humans only have one set of eyes. So why two screens? If your looking at the big screen you cant look at the small screen and vice versa, that creates all types of problems. I mean in theory yeah its nice to say in an rpg you can have the overhead map on your gamepad screen, but really what good does it do, when you look down you basically have to pause the big screen anyway since you cant look at both at the same time, with that being the case, you might as well just have the map pop on the giant screen anytime the player hits pause.

As for the kinect as so forth, I think they may have a future possible when ties to VR , such as Oculus, but only and only if things like the Kinect can get their latency issues down, which Im not sure will be so easy. I see the kinect currently as a gimmick, one that tires pretty quickly for most.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 14th February 2014 5:39pm

Posted:2 months ago

#36

Richard Browne
EVP Gaming and Interactive

77 67 0.9
Todd's close to the point ; the reason that the Wii-U Gamepad is a complete failure is because it is completely counter to Nintendo's audience that they appealled so strongly to with the WIi. You've just completely nerfed family co-op play in one fell swoop. You've given someone a specific advantage and started a fight about who gets to play with the nice controller. "I can pay on the couch while XYZ watches TV" is not a compelling argument to counter this in the slightest. You can only ever have two of them (and that would apparently half the frame rate of the game being played) and even in that scenario they'd be $100 a piece to add them on. Whoever in NIntendo thought this was a good idea when the whole theme of the Wii was "the modern board game" where it was primarily played when friends were round co-op for a laugh should be shot.

Kinect I get, it had to be boxed with the console because its Microsoft's long term plan to evolve the box and grow their audience.

Posted:2 months ago

#37

Craig Page
Programmer

381 216 0.6
@Rob Fahey, I know you either don't have a PS4 or don't use it, or else you would have mentioned the light on the controller as the only bad thing about the console.

It's always on, lighting up your darkened theater room, or creating glare on your screen. It's always draining battery power, forcing you to either buy a second controller or just play with it plugged into a USB port half of the time. As far as I can tell it serves no purpose, unless Sound Shapes was trying to tell me something through it in morse code...

Posted:2 months ago

#38

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
@Tom Keresztes

The gamepad touch screen would be used for lesser actions like an RPG when you browse through differant weapons and tactics or party member AI... or you want to switch party members... stuff like that. Heavy actions like running, jumping, attacking were your pressing the buttons hundreds of times and need more precise control would use fisical buttons.

I prefer fisical feedback that only fisical buttons provide. However instead of having to use the directional button to dive into the menu, then subsequent submenus after submenu to (for example) switch equipment I find those actions are best suited for a touch screen.

Another example, I can switch to melee combat or shooting style on the fly without having to take up a physical button I can otherwise use for a more important action, or I dont have to use up a fisical button to switch to the secondary weapon function in a shooter like unreal.

The gamepad puts both at your disposal.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 14th February 2014 6:30pm

Posted:2 months ago

#39

Gary Eller
Studying animation

2 1 0.5
I love my Kinect...thinking it is dead weight is just asinine.

Posted:2 months ago

#40

Mbuso Radebe
Associate Producer

53 11 0.2
I think it would be interesting if Turtle Rock's Evolve had a Wii U specific version. Some interesting possibilities there...

Posted:2 months ago

#41

Sam Maxted
Journalist / Community / Support

153 62 0.4
The problem with the GamePad being one of Nintendo's USPs is that it IS a USP. No other console has anything like it (other than the DS / 3DS) and there aren't many console-exclusive AAA titles coming from third party publishers, so anything that's multi-format isn't going to be designed with the GamePad in mind. And if that's the case, its use is nearly always going to feel tacked on.

Posted:2 months ago

#42

Eric Leisy
Production Designer

93 72 0.8
Gary, what do you like about your Kinect? I own an XBOX one, and it's my first personal experience with the Kinect system. I find the Kinect frustrating, because I wish it were more useful and integrated than it is. Yes, it's better (from my understanding) from the 1.0 version, but it's still not that great.

I use it the most for voice functionality, but what I don't understand is why the Kinect was necessary just for voice function. When the Kinect Voice commands work, it's really awesome and convenient. But inevitably, I find that sometimes it just doesn't work for unknown reasons. Sometimes I can get the XBOX to turn on with a single voice command, and sometimes it just refuses to work.

I thought it would be really cool initially to navigate the menus using gestures, a la minority report - however in practice, it's frustrating, imprecise and slow. I have to agree with most people here and the article. I just don't see a compelling reason that this gimmick is forced as part of the XBOX package. It seems like they are really hurting themselves with this business strategy.

The Kinect was supposed to be an integrated part of the XBOX One system, but in practice, it still feels like a novelty add on. If it doesn't work close to perfectly, it's never going to be more than just a cool novelty to show off at parties.

It certainly seems pointless now.

Edited to add:
I've actually been using the Kinect more recently- here at Nike, part of what I do, involves 3D modeling and creating mock-ups of various things using 3D printing techniques. I've found that I can use the Kinect camera as a scanning device when attached to a PC. I just think it's ironic that the Kinect is more useful when its NOT attached to the xbox.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Leisy on 14th February 2014 9:48pm

Posted:2 months ago

#43

Paul Shirley
Programmers

165 131 0.8
I remain convinced the Kinect is compulsory because someone with power inside Microsoft believes its a vital part of the media box functions. It was a large feature of the launch advertising along with the media player side of XB1. And perhaps it really is a superb remote control.

But it's a $100 remote control and while there is a market for $100 remotes it's small and buyers expect more than Kinect delivers. XB1 is a mediocre media device reducing the value of Kinect further.

I'm not even convinced a killer app exists able to just the price of Kinect with enough buyers, the hardcore gamer market most willing to throw large wads of cash at peripherals are the least likely to find Kinect attractive. Wii succeed because it had the killer app and got the price low enough for the casual market, WiiU could still manage that with the right app. Kinect - they'll have to start giving them away.

Posted:2 months ago

#44

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

768 1,001 1.3
I agree with this article. The Gamepad has proven to be almost completely useless so far. As for Kinect, the bigger problem with Microsoft is that I doubt they really focus-tested any aspect of XBO with actual consumers. They should have used their Xbox Live Rewards members for this task. Had they done some actual focus testing they would have found that A). most gamers did not want used games to go away, B). most gamers would appreciate the option of being able to play their games offline even if they are XBL Gold members and C). most gamers would rather play their games and browse their dashboard menus with their controller as opposed to using Kinect all the time. The very fact that they initially weren't going to ship an actual headset with the XBO because it came with Kinect leads me to believe they either did zero focus testing or very little focus testing for this console.

I hope in the future that Microsoft learns from all these failed lessons when trying to launch a new system with tons of consumer non-friendly policies. Theres still room for them to improve but you have to wonder how many of these policies/choices/decisions ever got green lit in the first place. As for Nintendo, the article called it out perfectly. They need a Wii-U version of Wii Sports(metaphorically) and some actual decent marketing. I'm not sure if either of those two things will ever happen but they have another two years or so to sway their audience. Hopefully it's time well spent.

Posted:2 months ago

#45

David Canela
Game Designer

31 32 1.0
@Felix Leyendecker:
I find the death of local multiplayer one of the worst current trends in gaming. However, I believe it's not so much that there's no audience for it, it just has become prohibitively expensive as console controllers costs have risen higher and higher. At most, people get a 2nd controller, but no 4 player action...

In that regard I applaud nintendo for their backward compatibility and wish microsoft and sony made it possible to use xbox360/dual shock 2 controllers with their newest consoles.

Posted:2 months ago

#46

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

93 61 0.7
The Gamepad, as pointed out above, is bad because it ruins local co-op. And let me tell you something: it's the families that drive sales, not hardcore gamers. It's been this way since the PS2. If you can't pitch your console to the wife and kids, you can't expect it to sell beyond the initial run of gamers. The Gamepad fails this test for anyone with more than one kid. ("I want the Gamepad!" "No! I want the Gamepad!" is exactly why no parent wants this thing in their house.)

For Kinect, it's got to get past the baggage of the original model's launch. They launched it as a gaming peripheral, when it's better as a console peripheral. Eventually that message will resonate, but it'll be a long road. And MS will never drop the Kinect. They'll eat the $100 on a price cut, and still include it. It's what differentiates it from a PS4. If they take it out, they're dooming the console.

Posted:2 months ago

#47

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
Another obvious idea for that GamePad. A dungeon creation RPG where you draw on the screen and that dungeon appears as you go. Something you can create and share adventures with is ENDLESS fun. Also, where the hell is Minecraft or even a Nintendo-style game in that vein?

Or an Advance Wars WIi U (or some new RTS) that uses the GamePad for tactical maps and allows for MP matches with the pad holder as a "commander" of sorts issuing orders to other players who are down on the battlefield in first/third person.

A "Drawn to Life/Graffiti Kingdom" style game that lets players draw on the Gamepad and have what they draw become playable. More creativity from players is a good thing, always. Yeah, you'll get boobs and balls from the dopes (probably one reason Nintendo hasn't done this yet in a game-like project).

Even something as mundane as a home improvement "game" that lets parents use the Gamepad to snap photos of rooms and digitally reorganize them would be something I could see as useful to folks who like to see new tech multitask. More Brain Age games as well.

@Nick Wofford: Ive NEVER heard that GamePad argument at all from the four families I know with multiple kids (2, 3 and 5 ankle biters) because some of those more family friendly games allow for the GamePad to be traded for a Wii Remote or other controller as players switch roles. Of course, they tend to raise their kids to SHARE or else, so that's been a major help.

THAT said, the system also needs a Mario Party game that allows the person with the GamePad (a parent or other adult or responsible kid) to control the flow of the game or oversee fair play by using the pad to select and edit stuff in-game or play along as a spoiler of sorts.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 15th February 2014 4:59am

Posted:2 months ago

#48
As much as I love the GamePad, I'd love to see a WiiU release without the GamePad (allow it to be purchased later), and just make it optional. This will knock a solid $100 off the purchase price, and probably make Nintendo even more money. Not everyone wants or needs one, most games do not require it - and the majority of people do not *need* to pay for it.

Flowerworks WiiU is a good example (its in submission now) - the game definitely plays better on the Gamepad (via touch control), but its in no way required or the only way to play. Playing with a WiiU Pro controller is almost as good (and has a nice "direct" control feel to it).

As for Kinect - not a single person or gamer I have spoken to wants one. Its *poison* to hard-core gamers. And because of the nature of the XBone, I'll never allow an active one in my house.

We'll know for sure in a few months, but I still believe the XBone is in big trouble. The only thing saving it IMO, is that its architecture is virtually identical to the PS4 - which means virtually every (non-Sony) PS4 game will also be a XBone release. If Sony was smart, they should do a deal with publishers: release either solely on the PS4, or exclusive for 6-12 months - and you'll get a nice discount on publishing license fees (i.e. disc printing / digital costs).

Posted:2 months ago

#49

LeWayne Jones
freelance journalist

3 3 1.0
It's been this way since the PS2. If you can't pitch your console to the wife and kids, you can't expect it to sell beyond the initial run of gamers.
While I could see the NES and SNES used in this statement, the PS1 and PS2 were marketed mainly to males aged 15 - 25. That's something we seem to forget in the hubub of all the rose tinted revisioning. Also during that time Local co-op was a thing mainly because of the limitations of technology being a major factor. The PS2 did try to go the online route, but much like the Dreamcast and the Gamecube as well. the online gaming aspect was way ahead of it's time. The SNES tried the same thing via Satellaview, and only had minimal success for the same reasons.

The Gamepad has a ton of great ideas, and as always with Nintendo, it falls into the same trap of previous peripherals; lack of support and shortsightedness. Everyone has stated tons of great ideas that could be implemented into the game pad, and yet there isn't really any one game that takes that much advantage of the features available. While that is Nintendo's fault, and they are probably working hard to rectify that, Iwata and Nintendo also put the responsibility into the hands of the third party developers who supposedly were on board with Nintendo to deliver content. As we all know, with the exception of some, those developers have dropped the ball (as predicted by most) and left Nintendo in a bigger software rut than last generation.

So to me, it seems that yes this is a hazardous thing, but i doubt that this means that an idea that actually has a lot of possibilities and thought behind it is "dead weight". That just leads us to believe that this is just another "Virtual boy situation", which is very well isn't. The reality is all the gamepad needs is a chain of killer apps and people will go back to oohs and ahhs, but that's something for the future to reveal. Same with the Kinect. The dance games are still generating a profit and creating sales, and honestly there is nothing else doing anything close to what you can do on that console. Once the rest of the industry stops trying to make the perfect shooter, and actually plays around with some ideas that coincide with the tech, you'll see some fantastic things. In all honestly, I think we're going to see better use of the control schemes of either from the indies since they have the time to tinker with the tech and the hunger to actually work with the companies. Everyone else seems to shy away from the tiniest bit of a challenge.

Posted:2 months ago

#50
I think the Kinect can bea. Awesome experience when it is working . 100% for multiple purposes beyond entertainment. It just isn't there yet, it needs to be 100% accurate

Posted:2 months ago

#51

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

209 85 0.4
The difference is this:

The GamePad is designed from the ground up for gaming

Gaming is Kinect's secondary function

People like the voice controls when they get used to them, that's why these kinds of feature, from Siri to Xfinity are spreading. They're hugely popular outside the Inited Stares. Kinect is all about what they're going to be doing with it, non gaming related outside of fitness programs, three years from now. The news that this week Apple woke up to what Microsoft did about seven years ago is really funny.

So yes, for the hardcore gamer, Kinect is a non-starter.....until you try it. Check out what DICE did with BF4 for a great example of what can be done on a hardcore title. Head tracking I vehicles, analog lean, and squad voice commands. Good stuff that adds dimensional it's to the title.

Posted:2 months ago

#52

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

93 61 0.7
@Greg But that means the other siblings get stuck with the "old" controller. I've seen the fights some kids have. As for sharing, every parent thinks their kids are perfect angels who believe in sharing, but most kids argue when the parents are away.

@LeWayne The PS2 was marketed to that demographic, but I know plenty of people who bought PS2's for a DVD player. At the time, it was one of the cheapest ones on the market, so it was an easy sell to nongamers. These devices cost a ton of money, which needs to be justified in a family budget. The Kinect does that for MS; it's the crazy sci-fi thing that nongamers are fascinated by right now (Glass, Siri, etc...)

@Jeff Completely agreed.

Posted:2 months ago

#53

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
Why spend 500€ for an Xbox One giving your TV voice control, when you could just as well pick up an LG TV, with Android based voice control already built into it, for the same amount of money on Amazon?

How is it the stuttering issue on European TVs never came up during development? Or was it just deemed negligible? What does that say about the importance of watching TV in the end?

Why build a living room novelty, carrying the burden of also being a state of the art games console and its associated costs?

Why build a console for a TV and then fit the controller with a competing screen?

How are hardware departments allowed to run with these decisions hoping that the software department will magically make them work?

How is it only gamers are antagonized by non-gaming applications, while the stores selling the Xbox haven't even moved the Xbox out of the gaming section? If the Xbox was this magical TV device, I'd expect it to invade the TV department of electronic retail chains. You see nothing of that in Germany. Is this the same for other countries?

Sure, if you like the games, you can totally run with any console on the market. That doesn't mean they make more sense, or even the way they are sold fits the way they are promoted.

Posted:2 months ago

#54
The XBone may aspire to be a all In one box; for a core gaming appeal, the Kinect and voice commands are not essential for everyday enjoyment/ usage. It is a nice supplement to enhance the existing experience for the few core experiences that can support it well, but there are insufficient products to make it necessary to be integrated into a entertainment box

Most folks are hard wired into requiring a tactile feedback. In our everyday physical world, we try to open doors by bashing a button , or pulling a handle. Sliding doors, revolving doors are still an anathema because it doesn't open seamlessly and one has to pause somewhat.

Maybe one day, she. We have our alter ego surrogate, where Kinect team up with VR plugged into our neural system that the physical and stimulated augmented world are indistinguishable, will the Kinect really arrive. We are just not there yet

Posted:2 months ago

#55

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
@Dr. Chee
If you are at the point of sending information directly to the brain resulting in an intended reaction of the brain, then why go the convoluted step of creating an alternative reality provoking the reaction? Just put the brain directly into a state of happy, sad or whatever and call it a day. Why create a game causing people to be happily drooling idiots, when an interface might just as well put them into this mode without having to create a complicated game? Why create a game of complicated decisions, when you can just hack the brain and tell it that it should feel rewarded for having made the right decision, without there ever having been one actually?

It will be splendid. People with such a brain interface buy the "game" and all it does is make the people happy by flipping a "switch" in their brain. If players are asked how the game is, they shall say how great it is and rattle down a bullet point list of implied moments and characters in the game without going into any detail. Spoilers, you know. All in service to provoke another person to buy the "game". All the game does is make the player release endorphines and have him spout out PR nonsense.

So why ruin a perfectly working mind control device with putting a video game in between? Keep things simple, just the way this article suggested Microsoft and Nintendo should have kept things.

Posted:2 months ago

#56
This article is dumb. I can see your point about the Wii U but I would argue that the Wii Sports was a gimmick. Sure it helped sell the Wii but this time around my attitude is Nintendo can't fool me the second time around. It wasn't because of Wii Sports it was because of the lack of games that are on Nintendo. As for Microsoft it's not even 90 Days on the shelf and your going to judge it. $100 is a huge difference for many. When they are able to bring the price down it will catch up. it's still selling well in My opinion for a console that's $100 more. How is Kinect dead weight? I love it in my house and it breaks the barrier for my 4 year old who can't hold a controller yet but can play Disneyland Adventures, Nickelodeon Dance, Kinectimals, Kinect Sports and others (360). It Turns my devices on and off with my voice and the more you use the voice the better the experience gets. You talk about waiving hands around and I hardly use my hands with Kinect. In fact I waived at the damn thing for a week after buying the Xbox One to the point I thought they took it out. Then I saw the video that shows that you don't need to wave your hand anymore you just hold it up and voila hand gestures work LOL. Have you ever used hand gestures to control video? it's the best thing ever. Just drag the video where you want it or telling it to Play, Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward is a thing of beauty. The way it controls your cable box is also amazing. Gamers act like they don't watch TV. You should see how many people in my friends list are watching Netflix, Xbox Video, Xbox Music, TV or some type of media besides just playing games. Microsoft is not shoving this down anyone's throat it's the results of what they are seeing on Xbox Live. Also let me address the internet Fanboys. I believe to the bottom of my soul that the reason the internet is flooded with PlayStation gamers is because PlayStation Online service sucks compared to Xbox Live. Xbox Live in itself is it's own social media. PlayStation owners are on the Net looking for the next best thing when Xbox Owners are already living it. Hopefully now that the PlayStation 4 has caught up on some of those features it will be different this time around because articles like thing only fuel the Fanboys who hate Kinect and the Wii's Gamepad. People only hate on things that have potential and that's exactly what Microsoft and Nintendo bring as they are clearly the innovators between the 3 Manufacturers.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Charles Dawkins on 16th February 2014 1:47pm

Posted:2 months ago

#57

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
*sigh* Everything in moderation, indeed.

Posted:2 months ago

#58
One wonders what a love child of a Kinect enabled ergonomic looking game pad might entail...

Posted:2 months ago

#59

Eric Leisy
Production Designer

93 72 0.8
I really have tried to like my Kinect on XB1, but the technology doesn't feel accurate enough yet to transcend the novelty / gimmick feel. I was really excited at the idea of being able to control the UI through gestures. The Kinect commercials make it look like it works with Minority Report accuracy. In practice, I find the gesture control imprecise, difficult, and frustrating. It's entirely too difficult to actually CLICK on something. The whole practice of "pushing forward" with your hand feels awkward and its very difficult to move your hand forward and not have the virtual hand slide off of you want clicked.

The test for these things can always come down to non - gamers. I've had my girlfriend, who is not a gamer, try to use the kinects gesture control, and she can very rarely get it to work - it just ends up frustrating the hell out of her. It's always easier to just use the controller to select movies and such.

Until non gamers and people like my girlfriend can use the kinect without frustration, i just don't see how it will catch on. It still feels like a peripheral that is novelty. If MS was going to require the kinect, i feel like they should of really incentivized other developers to capitalize on its use. The XB1 is my first experienced with the Kinect, and so far I haven't seen any games that really take advantage of it - besides dance games, which i don't play.

The voice commands fair better, and I do actually find myself using the voice commands a lot. Voice Recognition has gotten much better in the last 5 years.

Posted:2 months ago

#60

Christian Keichel
Journalist

416 562 1.4
I still wonder where the idea comes from, that a Wii U without a Game pad would be 100 Dollar cheaper. The Game pad doesn't have a GPU, no CPU and no RAM. It is completely made with standard components, there is simply no way that the manufacturing costs for the Gamepad are even close to 100 Dollar. Much more complicated devices like Android tablets are sold for 50 Dollar in retail.

Posted:2 months ago

#61

Neil Young
Programmer

232 186 0.8
I find the claims the gamepad breaks local coop baffling, since one of the best uses of it is rayman legends, which uses it for local coop.

Posted:2 months ago

#62

Krzysztof Nizielski
Junior QA Project Lead

30 35 1.2
The voice commands fair better, and I do actually find myself using the voice commands a lot. Voice Recognition has gotten much better in the last 5 years.
...unless you're not a native English speaker.

Posted:2 months ago

#63

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,118 888 0.8
On the DS, it works, because both screens are within your view (view frustrum) and as such, require little to no eye movement to change where you look at. With the WiiU, the eye movement is much larger, and often requires the user to change focus (both eye focus and mental) - and this can feel tiring after a prolonged session.
That may be an advantage on the DS in some cases, but it doesn't necessarily make it a better implementation.

On the WiiU you could be immersed in highly detailed world (lets say Hyrule). In a specific game play context you come across an object/item/puzzle look down at it and manipulate it in real-time on the large touch screen. It opens up or changes something in the HD, immersive world you have on the TV.

That's just one tiny example of what's possible. With a much larger Higher Definition TV screen that doesn't have to be downgraded in order to fit a handheld, more processing power and an bigger, interactive touch screen in your palms.

I'd say in many ways the WiiU should be a bigger, far superior Nintendo "Dual Screen" to what the portable is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 17th February 2014 7:42pm

Posted:2 months ago

#64

Richard Vaught
Studying B.A. in Game Design

19 33 1.7
I disagree with this article, particularly in regards to the WiiU pad. Unlike the Kinnect the WiiU gamepad has offered a LOT of value in my home for that system, particularly considering that the initial pricetag on the system was far lower. I think the two biggest issues with WiiU are a lack of developer support, and a lack of vision on the part of developers in taking advantage of the game pad. Just look at what Nintendo did with the first Mario game released for it. They were able to provide a means for non-gaming parents to PLAY with their kids without having to be good gamers. Parents could assist their kids by giving them platforms that could be used to reach areas that were impossible to reach alone, or to save them if they messed up. This was a beautiful mechanic. Not to mention that my kids are able to play without taking up the TV. Putting this two devices in the same category is non-sense.

Posted:2 months ago

#65

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

209 85 0.4
@Christian

The Gamepad is about $80 to make because it contains a great deal of irreduceable costs from modular, third party components. The WiFi alone in the pad runs $15 in bulk the screen is about $25. The components are not made by Nintendo, and they have not changed price much
http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2013/03/18/t-ts-nintendo-wii-u-teardown.cnnmoney/index.html?iid=HP_River

These numbers are a year old, but won't have changed a lot. Savings on such things are achieved by combining chips and shrinking them. The WiFi/NFC and screen alone add up to $40+, an X1 or PS4 controller costs >$25 at manufacture

Posted:2 months ago

#66

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
The way that price elasticity of demand works means that a relatively small difference in retail price can make a huge difference in sales. There are certain "magic" pricepoints, hence so many retail prices ending in .99.
If the console manufacturers want to maximise sales they need to pare price and hit the $199, $299 and $399 price points.

Consoles have a long history of being used as trojan horses to put technology in our homes. Sony succeeded with DVD and Blu Ray but failed with Cell. Kinect seems like a silly attempt to force something that is of little use on us. At a high cost to the consumer, and ultimately to Microsoft.

When discussing manufacturing cost remember that this more than doubles by the time it reaches retail. There is packaging, transportation, import duties, retail margin, sales taxes etc. So reducing manufacturing cost by $1 can reduce retail price by $2.

Microsoft may well have made a big mistake in creating a general purpose entertainment device. Televisions are getting smarter and will do much of what Xbone does on the entertainment front. Sony may have been smarter going for a pure gaming play. Apple have a smart TV on the way that might pull the rug on both of them.

Posted:2 months ago

#67

Christian Keichel
Journalist

416 562 1.4
@ Jeff
The WiFi/NFC and screen alone add up to $40+, an X1 or PS4 controller costs >$25 at manufacture
If I take your numbers, I end up with $65 way below your $80 and way below the $100 the article brings up. $65 is in line with several teardowns in the net, e.g. this one:
http://electronics360.globalspec.com/article/3281/nintendo-wii-u-basic-set-8gb-gaming-console-teardown

@ Bruce
When discussing manufacturing cost remember that this more than doubles by the time it reaches retail. There is packaging, transportation, import duties, retail margin, sales taxes etc. So reducing manufacturing cost by $1 can reduce retail price by $2.
Doesn't apply here, we are talking about taking something out of an existing SKU, this wouldn't help you much with packaging or transportation costs. The result would be a seperate Gamepad/Kinect SKU, it wouldn't help with import duties, retail margins, sales taxes, etc. It would be the opposite, retailers would have to stock another product, which had to be shipped seperately and which would eat up extra shelf space.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 18th February 2014 10:43am

Posted:2 months ago

#68

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

714 496 0.7
@Bruce
Kinect seems like a silly attempt to force something that is of little use on us. At a high cost to the consumer, and ultimately to Microsoft.
Exactly and that is the problem; you can't "force" something into the customer as long as you have another competitor. This would only work if Nintendo and Sony would not exist at all. MS is paying the price for that.
Microsoft may well have made a big mistake in creating a general purpose entertainment device. Televisions are getting smarter and will do much of what Xbone does on the entertainment front.
Still I have some trust in MS regarding his capacity of adapting in a short margin of time. Last generation saw a Gaming only console turn into a multimedia service platform (not the best, but better than nothing). I don't think they can do the opposite now but there is still margin of operation.

Step one and as something personal: Don't force the damn Kinect into my gaming experience, Microsoft; If I want to move I can just go out in the street and walk, and if I want to put more energy into it I'm already going to a gym for that very reason...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 18th February 2014 9:02am

Posted:2 months ago

#69
Wouldn't it have been betters o Kinect with a smartTv instead of the XB1

Posted:2 months ago

#70

Keith Andrew
Editor, PocketGamer.biz

31 28 0.9
The new Kinect is pretty awesome, to be honest. Maybe just my view, but I'd suggest it hasn't hampered sales one jot.

Posted:2 months ago

#71

Jed Ashforth
Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group

90 140 1.6
Kinect is pretty awesome, to be honest. Maybe just my view, but I'd suggest it hasn't hampered sales one jot.
@Keith I think it might be your view, and I think a quick straw poll might be illuminating. That and the advertising saturation on the OS are precisely the reasons I don't want an XBOne, and plenty of people here and in the real world have said the same thing.

It might well be great this time, but they said that last time, and that was £130 pissed down the drain. Didn't work well at all in my gaming environment, and there were very few games ever released for it that I was interested in. Microsoft are starting at a disadvantage if anyone had a bad experience with Kinect V1, and that seems like a lot of people.

Posted:2 months ago

#72
When Kinect can accurately allow me to Hadouken, and shoryuken. It is ready for the market :)

Posted:2 months ago

#73

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

209 85 0.4
@Dr. Chee

While none of the three parties will comment officially, Samsung and Comcast have both released products that possess Kinect style features. Both companies are close partners with Microsoft. It stands to reason that at least pieces of Kinect may be in those products, though it haven't dismantled them to compare parts.

@Christian
$15-25 is what I meant to write

The CNN piece is the entire cost, not just the pieces. The case, assembly, royalties, testing, packaging, shipping etc. heck, even testing is huge. The cost of the cellular radio in you ipad is about $30. The certification, royalties etc maybe another $20. The credit is gouge.

I think it's reasonable to say, based on the reduction in build cost on the original Kinect, and the functionally simpler design that the cost of production of the Gamepad and Kinect will hit parity this year, and Kinect will dip below soon after. It's a pretty simple device, and unlike the Gamepad, MS owns the tech inside. Kinect one went from $60 to under $30, so it'll probably be running under 50 by. Christmas.

I and my colleagues have experience with the construction, development and creation Roku style devices and portable video players this should be analogous to the GamePad when it comes to getting it out the door.

Posted:2 months ago

#74

Aleksi Ranta
Product Manager - Hardware

246 96 0.4
With regards to kinect, forcing consumers to buy into something with no perceived value it will end in failure.
One doesnt need to have any knowledge of games or the industry to come to this conclusion.
What consumers always want is choice.

Posted:2 months ago

#75

Christian Keichel
Journalist

416 562 1.4
and my colleagues have experience with the construction, development and creation Roku style devices and portable video players this should be analogous to the GamePad when it comes to getting it out the door.
Roku Style devices are sold for less then $40 in retail, for even less money you can get portable video players with TFT screens, *if* they are comparable with the Wii U Gamepad, the manufacturing costs of a Gamepad are way below $80. just because you can get a portable video player plus a Rokus style device in retail for $70 and these $70 include not only packaging, shipping, testing, etc, they even include the retailers share for both products.
On the other hand, packaging and shipping are not the cost driver in case of the Gamepad, because the shipping and packaging for the Wii U has to be paid anyway, all you achieve is taking out one component, that weighs less then 500g from the whole package.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 18th February 2014 2:02pm

Posted:2 months ago

#76

Christophe Danguien
games developer

64 78 1.2
@Tom,

No because having to look at your gamepad when checking your bag is realistic in the game. You can't look inside your bag and look in front of you in reality, you got to lift your head up. So here, exactly same, you got to lift you head up to look at what's going on around you. Simple but efficient

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christophe Danguien on 18th February 2014 3:02pm

Posted:2 months ago

#77

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

632 223 0.4
Still I have some trust in MS regarding his capacity of adapting in a short margin of time.
History will tell if your were correct.

Posted:2 months ago

#78

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
Next generation so far:
Nintendo pandered to their audience with the same five franchises and a novelty controller.
Sony pandered to their audience by doing troll ads, no experiments and another console without games.
Microsoft tried to pander to a new audience, trying to sell gaming hardware to non-gamers.

The results so far:
Nintendo found out that they have the support of their fans, which just aren't enough for 3rd parties to show up.
Sony found out their customers still buy their hardware for the promise of next-gen games rather than the availability of next-gen games.
Microsoft found out that people watching Tom Cruise on TV, do not want to control their TV the way some Tom Cruise flick led you to believe.

Wishful forum thinking so far:
Nintendo will be giving away hardware and software for free from 2014 onwards.
Sony will one day keep the PS4 in stock.
The Kinect will one day be cherished by everyone.

What tends to be overlooked:
Nintendo is Rick James.
Playstation division carries the weight of an entire electronics company.
If Microsoft sold its Xbox division to Amazon, nobody would be surprised.

Posted:2 months ago

#79

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,118 888 0.8
Ah Klaus :)

Posted:2 months ago

#80

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
Ive been reading the comments and frankly I still stand by the gamepad and that the second screen is the evolution the standard gamepad needed. The second screen will add to the standard gamepad in much the same way shoulder buttons, and anolog sticks did.

I see 3 problems with the WiiU game pad:

1) It looks and feels clunky. If it had a more finer design that mirrors PS and Apple products it would make it more appealing to adults and the hardcore audience. It wouldnt feel like a plastic toy, but an advanced piece of tech.

2) lack of software. Not enough software is released to warrent the use of the game pad in many ways. So its potential is left unseen, until new software makes use of it.

3) I just feel developers really havent taken advantage of it all that much. i love squad based 3rd person shooters, RPG's and Stratagy games and it blows my mind that developers have not found a way to enhance those expiriences.

And regarding kinect i find interesting aplications for AR games. I had some family fun on the PS4's AR application playroom. In which you play with on screen AR bots. A simple app, but yet I was able to play with my girlfriend and her son, in some family friendly manner TOGETHER. Cause to all honesty as much as I love shooters and hardcore AAA games... we also need those simple games everyone can enjoy TOGETHER.

So I wouldnt rule out Kinect, I just think developer approach should be differant.

But in my personal opinion I really do not care about kinect. The Xbox1 would have been more appealing to me if it did not include it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 19th February 2014 7:35pm

Posted:2 months ago

#81

Christopher Ashton Carlos
Junior Software Engineer

1 0 0.0
The way I look at it, Nintendo could have gone and made the Wii U more a Wii 2 with more advanced motion tracking remote controllers, and perhaps even more power in the system and called it a day.

I am glad they took some chances to change up and even modernize their system a bit. The ability to have an account system (that's still a bit locked up, but on its way to opening up more hopefully), the eShop is slowly collecting some great indie and retro games via the Virtual Console system (which still needs to have more games out there.) Also I think Miiverse is really a wonderful idea and it tends to be something I spend lots of time reading and going through on my system. I love seeing the drawings and community's reactions to various games, and it makes it feel a bit more personal when you see what people, who actually are playing the games, have to say and share about their experiences.

I love using the GamePad for the off screen play, I've found myself using that feature more often than not especially at home where my family is watching on the television, and I want to play some Assassin's Creed IV or something else while they use the PS3 for Netflix. I think some games like ZombiU and NintendoLand show potential ideas and uses that could really open up that immersive experience or asynchronous gameplay that makes for new and fresh experiences, but so far no one really seems to put much effort in it. An example is AC IV: Black Flag uses it for a mini-map, which is cool, and I love playing off-TV too when my TV is in use, but why could they not go a little further. I wish it would let met scroll the map, mark waypoints, and use it for upgrading and crafting without pausing and going into menus to dig it up. It would have made the experience a lot more seamless and smoother. There are other instances where I feel the GamePad just could have helped in some ways like I mentioned above for AC IV, but no one bothers to give it a bit of extra polish.

As for Kinect, I think it's great they finally got around to improving it, as I think the first Kinect should have been like this from day 1. My only issue with it is, now it seems like this will be something almost forgotten. Sure voice commands are cool and futuristic, but they are only quicker at times, because the current interface for Xbox One is not user friendly... or should I say controller friendly. It's a touch screen interface without a touch screen, and waving your hands and using your voice ends up quicker than buttons. I don't know if that's a good thing still or not. Sometimes I don't want to talk to my t.v. and just use buttons, but wading through layers of menus to get through my system and perform functions that should be immediate and accessible are not fun. So far the PS4 interface seems to be the best developed of the three IMO, but the Wii U's isn't far behind. Having a touch screen on the GamePad and using it for the interface is nice, but I wish at times I could use a normal controller and play games without having the GamePad on, sitting on the charger. It feels like a waste.

Posted:2 months ago

#82

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