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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 GamesIndustry.biz 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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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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