Kinect will be Xbox One's game-changer, says Harrison

Microsoft exec says having camera controller standard will boost dev support, says content will be "more broadly curated"

Much has been made of the Xbox One's TV initiative, possible support for always-on DRM, and plan to discourage used game sales. But in an interview with VentureBeat, Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business vice president Phil Harrison put a special emphasis on the system's second-generation Kinect camera.

"The fundamental, most impactful thing is that there's a Kinect in every box now," Harrison said. "There's the ubiquity of the platform having Kinect, whereas before it was always a subset. That made it difficult for developers to invest against 20 percent of the installed base or whatever it was. Having it as 100 percent - that's a game-changer."

In addition to expanded developer support on the gaming side, Harrison thinks Kinect will significantly change the user experience for all kinds of content.

"One of the things that I don't think we truly understand the significance of yet is automatic identity through Kinect," Harrison said. "If your wife or your daughter or your son or yourself starts interacting with the machine, it instantly switches to their choice of content, their profile, their personalization, their recommendation. That alone, that simplicity, is going to dramatically increase the number of people who want to interact with Xbox One."

Had Microsoft focused just on creating a gaming system rather than an all-in-one entertainment box, Harrison said the market would have grown. (Chris Lewis, Microsoft Europe's VP of Interactive Entertainment told GamesIndustry International the new consoles could grow the market as much as 30 percent.) But with the addition of features like content customization and Kinect user identification, the executive said an entirely new market of consumers could be reached.

"By making it simple and instant and complete, it means we can get men, women, old, young to enjoy playing and interacting with the device," Harrison said. "It's not just about core gamers; although, they are incredibly important to our future. It's also about finding entry points for all members of the household."

Harrison also addressed another lingering concern about Xbox One, that of Microsoft's approach to content curation. While the company has confirmed developers won't be able to self-publish their titles on Xbox One, Harrison suggested Microsoft would be loosening its control over its online storefront at least a little.

"We like an element of curation in the content landscape and the content experience, but that is definitely getting more broadly curated than it has been in the past," Harrison said. "I'm not sure I would describe it as closed versus open because that implies a more binary shift. I don't think you can be partly closed or partly open. It's more about curating content."

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Latest comments (18)

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London4 years ago
"If your wife or your daughter or your son or yourself starts interacting with the machine, it instantly switches to their choice of content, their profile, their personalization, their recommendation"
So how does that work with the fact that games are apparently tied to one person's account? Does your wife have to wear a mask of your face to play your games?
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
It's only a game changer if it actually works correctly atleast 95% of the time. Right now for gestures it's more like 60% accuracy and voice is 85% accuracy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 24th May 2013 1:07am

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How many of these claims are hoped to be leaves in autumn - made and then discarded?

As we know about the executive in question - they are hired for the need to gather headline inches - their media "celebrity" there for a fleeting moment, and used to the utmost - but what of that credibility?
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Show all comments (18)
Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 4 years ago
Factual question: Have they addressed the capture area issue with Kinect yet? Do you still need the living room of £300k+ house to play it in?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
@John Bye
I see no reason for them not to base the licence on the 360 model, where on the first console content is linked to, all profiles can use it, on a second console, only the profile that owns it can. This still causes a problem if you have two consoles in house.

If they don't do that it will be another balls up.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Well, if anything, the takeaway now will be for every future sales report, Microsoft can safely say there's a 1:1 attach rate to Kinect, as the console won't run without it.

And I bet it won't run at all or spit out an error message on screen if you cover the lens, stick a picture of a person in a room in front of it (like in a spy movie or something) or turn it around like some users on the Xbox forums are saying because they're interested in the system but not the camera always pointed at them...
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John McCaul Web Developer, DevPhase.Net4 years ago
If I'm watching tv on my xbox one and say 'pizza would be great tonight', am I going to be bombarded with pizza hot advertisements?
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
To have a feature like this as a standard will have many potential implications in gaming. Will be interesting to see what comes of it. Quite interested in what will become of Crytek's Ryse too and how this will affect the game mechanics (with better technology) and potential sales success.
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Just read a report that confirms that Xbone has hit the first speed bump on the Kinect utilization - seems that there may be a problem if someone is playing a game on their account using Kinect and the machine stops recognizing the user (or another user tries to jump in) then their accumulated achievements at that point will be lost. Also questions on family playing from a single account!

Never knew "Game Changer" meant - end of business!
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Julian Toseland games podcaster/website 4 years ago
I really just don't get it....were do they get this dream of information from....."A Game Changer", the last one was a piece of absolute rubbish, that turned into yet another dust gatherer.
Bottom line "It didn't work" given the videos I have seen of the new 2.0 version looks a great improvement....
...But, and its a bloody BIG but.....the vast, and i do mean vast majority of the gaming public do not, and will not use the "Kinect", in the way these people at Microsoft are dreaming about.....never...

The whole show for me as a 30 year gamer living in the UK was absolutely horrible from start to finish....its a TV remote...that is made for the American market, the rest of the world just doesn't do TV like the USA, and at no point was it even mentioned....

...I mean fantasy league stats, for gods sake get a grip......
...the Xbox 360 was "THE" top machine of its time.....the "ONE", is a completely different piece of hardware design solely for the American market.
Like i say...were do they get this info from.....because they are not speaking to the right people of you ask me.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Julian Toseland on 24th May 2013 2:46pm

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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop4 years ago
"If your wife or your daughter or your son or yourself starts interacting with the machine, it instantly switches to their choice of content, their profile, their personalization, their recommendation. That alone, that simplicity, is going to dramatically increase the number of people who want to interact with Xbox One."
No, that improves the user experience for people who already have a reason to want to interact with it, but nobody's wife is going to be bugging them to buy an Xbox One because they played it around their friend's house and it automatically logged them in.
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industry game changer is the Oculus, not this xbone crap and doing jazz hands to change channels.
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Kevin Patterson musician 4 years ago
I am just astonished at the mess that MS has made for themselves with this reveal. I cannot believe that MS had all that time after the PS4 announcement and this was the best they could come up with. tv, tv, tv, sports, sports, call of duty, call of duty.....
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
Kinect is probably a game changer, but when you think about it... its kinda scary, so im just throwing a few thoughts around...

Yeah face recognition DRM, not only is a game or movie tied to your console, its also tied to your face and voice... and spy cam for all your corporate spying needs. And violation of privacy, plus profile every person who owns the device. There voice, face, manerisms... who knows what goes on on the other side of the kinect device, while people are innocently watching a movie or playing a game... maybe if they use it in a way you dont see fit, the feds will pop up the door and youll get arrested, because your letting too many people watch a movie and your not selling anything, it doesnt belong to anyone, they are not selling you anything, just a EULA, that if you dont follow its jail time... The more I think about the Xbox One, the more it sickens me. While Im just being sarcastic, this device opens the door for things like that.

And for those people that say "well dont by it"... no Im not buying it. Im gonna miss Halo though. Halo has a great story.

Then you got poeple hating on Nintendo's lower spec system, when frankly I find relief in simplicity and core funcions Im really gonna use. Not a machine that can scan your behavior, mannerisms and record you. There would be no problem if you were able to choose to not use certain funcions, but microsoft made it a requirment... I mean do I really have to talk to my Xbox, what happens if I lose my voice cause I got a cold.

So I have to sit in front of a Device that needs to be on the internet and its gonna record every thing from images of me, to my movements, my voice and do the same thing to everyone in the house. Who knows what info microsoft is gathering... ... shit... looks like something Obama would approve.

and if this is the start of a bleak future like in so many sci-fi films equilibrium, THX1138, were feeling, sharing and regular human interactions is forbidden, and people who wanna control every aspect of your life and every stupid thing you do is breaking the law, such as lending a game, watching a movie at a public even or watching a movie at a party with friends with alot of people. Now every person watching the movie has to pay to watch? Like when i lend a game to friend or family member?

Really Im just rambling, just throwing in random things I think about and read on forums to see what people think... I mean, has anyone here thought of any of this? This device gathers information on virtually everything you do and its required to be online...

And one thing about Nintendo, it would really suck if people compared the two. Nintendo's console is specifically made for games, while this new Xbox is made to supposidly do everything... cut Nintendo some slack.

Edited 6 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 24th May 2013 7:39pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
i might be dragging my feet, but how this supposed to work when me and my wife wants to watch a movie? How it will figure out which profile to use and whom to listen to?
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@ Tom - thats easy, wife always wins rules (didnt you get the memo?)
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Xbox: Play movie.

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave. You are only licensed for 2 people. You will have to kill your son before I can play your movie."
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
@Dr. Chee Ming Wong

Ive been there and you are totally right, @Tom listen to him.
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