Some Kinect owners – OK, a lot of Kinect owners – are probably feeling a little bit as if Kinect is done and dusted. A quiet release schedule in 2012, where most of the blockbuster titles that featured Kinect support were limited to voice commands or tacked-on mini-games that didn't work, combined with a somewhat thin release schedule for 2013 (so far) means that some of you have lost heart. And you've every right to feel that way. There were bright spots, but for a long old while we as a collective have been wading through a bit of a mire of average or downright broken titles.
But we’re here to attempt to give you hope. To shine a light on what’s to come, and to – hopefully – convince you that Kinect (and the idea behind it) aren’t dead in the water just yet. We're not done yet. The bell hasn't rung. The fat lady hasn't sung, though for a while it has felt like she's been warming up backstage. In 2013 though, there are a fair few reasons to keep the faith.
Of course, a lot of the things we’re looking at are subject to change, or are yet to be confirmed, but we’ve tapped all of our resources to ensure that we’re bringing you information that we at least have a very strong hunch about. And if we’re wrong later, feel free to head into the comments section and do as you will. Do keep it clean, though, won’t you? Nobody likes a potty-mouth.
2013 in General
Early 2013 is likely to be somewhat quiet, aside from EA’s impressive-looking Dead Space 3, which will be released in early February. A demo is due during January, so keep your eyes open for that. Power Rangers: Super Samurai also lands on the shelves toward the end of January, but from what we’ve heard (and seen), that’s probably one that you won’t cry over, should you miss it.
Approaching the summer, the likes of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 and South Park: The Stick of Truth will hit. At some point during 2013, we're also expecting the likes of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Gore Verbinski’s curious XBLA title Matter to arrive. You can also bet that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots will feature Kinect support in some form too, although that has in no way been confirmed.
Ubisoft will undoubtedly bring at least one (if not thirty) new titles from the Just Dance franchise into play in the run-up to Christmas, and EA will likely carry on the good (albeit limited) work they’ve done with their sports titles in relation to Kinect. You could knock us down with a projectile of an avian variety if Activision don’t charge through the nose for a console version of Angry Birds: Star Wars, too. There’s also the possibility that someone, somewhere, will see a little bit more from Ryse – maybe even a release! Who knows?
We may even see it at E3. Talking of which…
E3 2013 will kick off at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the 11th of June, and the smart money says that Microsoft will announce the successor to the Xbox 360 - currently known as "Kryptos" - at their annual press briefing, which is likely to take place on either the day before the show, Monday the 10th, or on the opening day itself. Major Nelson has even gone as far as to posting a countdown to the event on his blog, just a short 160 days before its due to kick off.
The smart money says that the new machine will pack a decent punch. A GPU from Nvidia is on the cards, alongside a quad-core Intel processor and either 4GB or 8GB of system RAM.
We’re also expecting the next entry in the Xbox line to either be launched with a new Kinect device, either as an optional addition to the console, or to be bundled with it as standard. This new sensor will offer better recognition than the current device, to the point that individual fingers can be tracked, and with up to four players able to play as well. This will – we hope – lead to more options for developers, and new gameplay experiences. If this is the case, and Microsoft do bring Kinect with them into the next-generation, this means big things in terms of software. Oh, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the shops before the end of the year, either (in the States, at least.)
If the device is provided in the console box as bundled hardware, we’re looking at a big wave of launch titles that provide Kinect 2.0 support from the outset, from all manner of big-name publishers. We might be looking at a launch day where all of the titles available include some sort of Kinect 2.0 support. Even with if the new unit is an optional add-on, expect a stack of new titles that feature motion controls. If Microsoft is going to do this – and we have enough pointers and have heard enough whispers to think that they will – then they’re not going to do it by halves. Rare have been somewhat quiet of late, so we’d expect a launch day that features a new Kinect Sports, and you could probably bet safely that Dance Central would feature, too. Depending on the timing of the console’s release, EA will probably do their standard thing of rushing a FIFA port to the shelves in time for launch, and we’d also expect the next Call of Duty to fall in line, also. As for the rest, well, that’s part of the excitement of E3. You can be sure that we’ll be bringing you every title announcement, every screenshot, every movie, and every morsel of information that we can from E3, and from the other trade events, of course.
What we do know right now, is that though it might not necessarily seem that way when you roll through the release lists today, 2013 has the potential to be very, very big for Microsoft and Kinect. Until some – or all – of this comes to fruition a little later on in the year, you’ll find us still sweating it out while trying to beat our high scores on Fruit Ninja Kinect, and body-popping across the floor with Dance Central 3 until the break of dawn.
What are you most looking forward to for Kinect in 2013? Do you have any predictions of your own? Let us know in the comments!