Once again, some of the best Microsoft Kinect news comes to us through the European news venues. Eurogamer picked up on some comments that Steve Ballmer made during a BBC interview that suggests eventual PC support for the Kinect.
When quizzed by the BBC whether PC functionality was part of the long-term game plan for its mega-selling device, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “We’ll support that in a formal way in the right time.”
Ballmer went on to explain that Microsoft doesn’t see Kinect as purely a gaming device.
“We’re trying to move beyond gaming to include the world of socialisation, of movies, of TV, and we’re trying to make the whole experience accessible to everybody in the family, not just the traditional gamer.”
Even if this wasn’t the case originally, it’s obvious from Microsoft’s recent tacit approval of homebrew hackers making use of their device, the corporation wouldn’t have any trouble stretching their reach out onto a multitude of functions. While the Xbox games for the Kinect don’t fully exploit all of its capabilities and in fact cracking the drivers for the PC has created an explosion of innovation in the homebrew and academic community. My favorite reaction to the capabilities of the Kinect is still its integration into a project for helping teach people American Sign Language.
There’s a great deal of directions Microsoft can take this surprisingly versatile peripheral.
In fact, it’s extremely difficult to pin down speculation on what direction they might go. There’s options along a multitude of dimensions, especially looking at the newly released Avatar Kinect and how useful the device would be for amateur animators. So we could see Microsoft take a social MMO like Second Life and port it to PCs for use with the Kinect; or buy up some animation studio software for aiding in the production of animated movies that take advantage of skeletal sensing and facial emotion reproduction on-screen.
As more news comes out about how Microsoft is going to run with this, and they’ve got a giant field to cover—but perhaps they might need to shrink the Kinect just a little bit so that people can use it with their laptops…