Dear Kinect devs: I do not want to do simple binary actions with complex interpreted gestures.
Let’s say you have a menu select gesture where you have to wave your hand and hold it up for a second. If I have a n step-depth menu tree and it takes two seconds to select with a gesture versus 6 frames to select via button press, it is likely to take 10*n longer to get anywhere I want to go using gestures versus the old button system. If your menu tree takes six steps like a “Play Now” game of Madden, then you’ve increased my time to get into the game by ninefold, not to mention any additional interpretation time or false interpretations.
I can use a gesture to open a car door in Forza. Great. Why do I want to do that? To show off the technology or for increased enjoyment?
How about button presses versus gestural gameplay? We’ve seen this on the Wii already. Shaking the sword in Twilight Princess was inferior than the button presses used in the Gamecube version. Shaking to spin in Madden/NCAA Wii was vastly inferior to the button presses on its next-gen brethren. But aiming via tilting the Wiimote with our bow in the aforementioned Twilight Princess or using the MotionPlus to putt in Tiger Wii were much better applications of new tech. The tech is not good or bad, but applications of the tech can be.
Let’s learn from our mistakes. Gestural methods can create new outlets for gameplay. You can’t do EA Active with button presses and it was a creative success. If Kinect creates new gameplay methods, like it seems to in Dance Central, then the tech is being used appropriately.
There’s some great stuff being produced, just don’t let the tech tail wag the gameplay/usability dog.