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Epic: "Kinect is very much an experiment"

Mark Rein talks of tablet and laptop integration, and says Move and Kinect can ape each other

Mark Rein, vice-president of Unreal and Gears of War studio Epic Games, claims the industry should not "discount" Kinect and Move. Speaking to at last week's GameHorizon conference, he stressed that it was early days for Microsoft and Sony's motion controllers.

"Wait until you see what people are going to do with these things," he said. "We're involved tangentially in both technologies actually. The Kinect adventures game is Unreal Engine 3 and that sorcery game that Sony has, that's also Unreal Engine 3. So we have Sony and Microsoft, first-party, both doing cool things with our technology and I wouldn't discount anything."

However, he claimed that Kinect may be just the first move in a wider motion control gambit by Microsoft.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Kinect is very much an experiment to see where they should go with this stuff. I mean, this device [a prototype Android tablet] has a camera. If you had the rest of the Kinect sensors on here, this'd be great. You could prop this down on a little stand, and play Dance Central right here. What would be wrong with propping this on the table and standing here in an environment with friends and doing a dance?"

Having also spent much of the interview endorsing mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, he claimed the future of gaming was not heading down separate paths.

"I don't think you should draw the conclusion that these things mean you can't have Kinect or Move. It's nothing to do with that. You could have controllers for these. You could eventually have all kinds of experiences on portable environments. It's just a computer. This is just another kind of computer. Just like your Xbox is a computer, your PC is a computer...

"Who knows, maybe the future of Kinect is on your laptop? In fact I think that Microsoft already publicly said that they were going to do something with motion tech cameras on laptops. One of the things that they can do is recognise your face. There are other portions of Move and Kinect that I think have been a little bit overlooked right now, that will eventually come into play."

Having referred to Move's raygun-like Shooting Attachment as "absolutely brilliant", Rein was then coy as to his preferred favourite motion controller.

"Don't believe everybody's nonsense about what one thing can do versus the other," he said. "You can have that with Kinect, you can have a gun. If you had a gun with a distinct look to it, even a shape, or a light on the end or something, Kinect would recognise that device just as well as Move can. Maybe even better."

The outspoken VP also stressed that, though much of the industry was in a state of some alarm due to declining hardware and software sales, he was hugely optimistic about gaming's future.

New payment models and increasing mobile hardware power would soon lead to "$20 million iPhone games," he claimed. "I'm just generally excited about the industry as a whole, so many opportunities."

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Latest comments (11)

Richard Gardner Artist, Crytek11 years ago
It will defiantly be interesting to see where the experiment takes the industry. There are defiantly a lot of promising ideas with each one having plus and negatives. I'm hoping in the long run we end up with a standard controller that you can snap in half, holding it in each hand for anything related to hand gestures (move) followed by the ability to put the controller down completely and get full body tracking (kinect) but snap the controller back together and you have your standard comfortable gaming back. Fingers crossed for the future!
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I'm really glad to see him make the point that you can use props in Kinect. I had read that in a review of the Forza Kinect demo where it mentioned the devs used prop steering wheels to keep their hands for drifting.
Now if all you need is the line of sight or where the barrel is pointing that doesn't sound too hard. You could probably use many props, or plastic guns for that. With all these games selling multiple edition they can just include their optimized official gun prop with the collector/plus edition! It actually sounds more like a plus than a downside.
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Josef Brett Animator 11 years ago
I wonder how well it would recognise props? I thought it was based on the recognition of the skeleton and not anything else (which is why, in theory it should pick up the arm of your sofa or your pet iguana).
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Show all comments (11)
Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde11 years ago
Ah... I think Patrick is onto something. Microsoft could sell official Kinect props that work for certain types of games. You want to play a driving game, buy the official steering wheel prop from Microsoft! Only 9.99 in 6 different colours. I joke now, but it is certainly not outwith the realm of possibility. I imagine Bobby 'would-sell-his-grandmother-to-improve-stocks' Kotick would jump on the idea.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
I'm wondering where this kind of enthusiasm was 4 years ago (Wii)? Or 6 years ago (Eye Toy)? Or 3 years ago (PS Eye)?

I don't wish to question your motives and appear disrespectful but does your enthusiasm for Kinect and Move show forth due to the 1st parties licensing of your UE3 engine for launch titles where as this was not the case with the 3 above mentioned technologies that do the same thing?
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Russell Watson Senior Designer, Born Ready Games11 years ago

Would it be because the platforms you mention do not typically use Unreal technology? Either because of technical constraints or budget. Why are you questioning a company endorsing a business that is supporting their own? You're answering your own question.

Xbox 360 and PS3 (and PC obviously) have the been the primary market for Epics technology, now they supporting are motion control they are interested. Thus to stay competitive they will support it.

Were talking about Epic here for crying out loud, your comment doesn't make any sense. It sounds like your trying to have a dig just for the sake of it.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
Russell, are you trying to tell me that the Unreal engines were not supported by Wii, PS2 and PS3 (until Move)?
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Russell Watson Senior Designer, Born Ready Games11 years ago
The engine was supported by Wii, PS and PS3??? That doesnt make any sense. A platform doesnt support an engine.

I cant recall an Unreal engine being used on console before Unreal 2(or maybe 2.5 on xbox). I remember hearing rumours that Mark Rein denied Unreal 3 would ever come to Wii and rumours that another company was modifying the engine to run on Wii.

And the Unreal Engine is pricey ( or at least used to be) and out of budget for a lot of projects. So yes, why would a company specialised in high spec tech pay attention to tech that lives on platforms *that your product *isnt targeted at (until now)?

Again, you're not making any sense.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Russell Watson on 6th July 2010 7:44pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
Russell, my query is aimed at the enthusiasm placed on motion and camera controls despite their ubiquity or utilization in the past and the usage of UE on them.

You're questioning my agenda when it's very apparent. I'm merely curious why the difference in enthusiasm levels between now and then.
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Actually Russell the Unreal Engine is used on consoles since Dreamcast and PS2 when Unreal Tournament was released on those two consoles running on Unreal Engine 1 and Unreal Engine 2 for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 11 years ago
Seriously I don't see where Kinect is going at its current state as all we have are HD clones for Wii games - which I think is disappointing after you invested so much. It is a typical "you have it, I have it...with a little twist" from Microsoft. I am not writing it off completely but developers really need to show and tell us what is the difference as this peripheral comes with a hefty price tag if $150 is the price point. Just remember that Wii does have a motion capture camera that works with Wiimote and Balance and comes with a game - it is developed by Ubisoft (I might be wrong) in one of the fitness games. Just that Nintendo didn't make a big fuss about that.

As for Move, I think Sony is doing a better job in distinguishing itself with games of different genre as compared to Nintendo. So Sony is searching for a different market sector with titles like Sorcery and RE5: Gold Edition.

It is still too early to say whether they will be successful but at the end of the day it is the software and experience offered that counts. Seriously why would I want to play a Nintendog clone on my Plasma in HD while I can carry one around with me in my pocket with my DS?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Haven Tso on 6th July 2010 10:15pm

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