LOS ANGELES--While last year's Microsoft E3 briefing focused on the Kinect as debut hardware, this year seems to be about integrating the Kinect more deeply into mainstream games.
EA Sports, EA Games, and Ubisoft are among the first to formally announce baked-in support for Kinect in their 2011 Xbox 360 games. Tiger Woods, Madden, FIFA, Mass Effect 3, and Ghost Recon Future Soldier--along with, according to developers, many more--will support the Kinect in unspecified ways. Forza 4, the latest iteration of Microsoft's racing simulator, will also support Kinect.
It looks like there will still be standalone Kinect games, too. Microsoft's new first-party game, Ryse, looks like a Kinect game set in ancient Rome, using full-body fighting motion.
Whether these games will integrate head-based motion tracking, voice command, or other features remains to be seen, but the move seems inevitable. The Kinect has sold well since November, but it remains a separate platform within the Xbox 360. Finding a better way to make top-to-bottom support for the Kinect seems like the only way to prevent the Kinect from being a fad peripheral instead of a true integral part of the 360's system evolution.
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More to come