Kinect spokesman Kudo Tsunoda tells Gamasutra that the device is on track to sell millions this holiday thanks to its ability to enable deep gameplay and attract a wide audience, in a new interview from the Tokyo Game Show floor.
"The preorders have been really strong. As far as what we're looking at for Holiday, this is going to be stuff that'll blow away any of the sales you've seen with iPad," says Tsunoda, when asked what he though about the device's chances of success.
"The Xbox 360 is already selling better than the Wii and Sony right now. Kinect's really just going to boost that to a whole new level."
Praising the 15 "great games" prepped for launch, and the "other stuff" coming afterward -- including a number of games announced at Tokyo Game Show -- Tsunoda says that he expects Kinect to appeal to a very wide audience, but one that values great gameplay, not gimmicks.
"People are really surprised by the skill-based gameplay and the depth of gameplay that are in the experiences... I think those are the kinds of things that all types of gamers love."
"People who love playing games like the same stuff. They like games that are fun; they like playing games where the more you play, the better you get. And those are things that we're doing really well with all of the Kinect titles," says Tsunoda.
Yesterday at the show, Microsoft concentrated on new games from Japanese studios such as Nana-On Sha and Grasshopper Manufacture, many for Kinect. Says Tsunoda, "Japanese developers definitely have a great style of game and particular type of gameplay they like to do. I don't think it's so much really that those games are just for core gamers. I think gamers, all different types of people enjoy those. I think it's gameplay that people all around the world will love."
"When I grew up playing games, arcade games were really simple games to get into -- you could just jump in and play right away. I think we're just getting back to a style of gameplay that includes more people and still has the depth of gameplay everybody loves," Tsunoda says.
Does It Really Work?
But does the device work as advertised? Rumors abound that it doesn't perform well in many different (and likely) situations.
"There's all kinds of speculation that goes on out there in the world. We try not to worry too hard about any kind of rumors that are out and floating about," says Tsunoda. "The best thing we can do is just tell people what's up, and how to play.
"At some point, with the sensor, you need to be like a meter and a half away. If you're going to be closer than that it's going to have a little trouble tracking your body. That's not something we're trying to hide from anybody. That's how the system works. We've done a lot of reseach to make sure the system works in everybody's houses -- North American houses, European houses, Japanese houses.
"It really does work in all types of lighting conditions. Dark -- it doesn't matter if you have dim lights in the house, that stuff's all going to work. The main thing is with the games that are very physical, but there are games which don't need a lot of space," he says.
Killing The Controller?
And of course, there's speculation that the Kinect is going to fundamentally change the landscape of the Xbox 360, which thrives on its popularity with core gamers -- for the worse.
Says Tsunoda, "This is both for people making games and people playing games. We just want you to make or play the games any way that you want.
Tsunoda insists that creators should pick whether they want to use Kinect, a traditional controller -- or both. "If you want to make a game with a controller and using Kinect, if that's going to make the game the most fun, use it that way. That's awesome. The only thing we're looking for is to enable developers to build the best experiences possible," says Tsunoda. "Both developers and the people playing are loving the experiences."
Kinect's Future, For Developers
The device, he says, will also improve in functionality thanks to updates down the road from Microsoft.
"Kinect, we think about it a lot the same way we think about Xbox Live. Xbox Live, when it first came out, was much different than it is today. And over time, new features get added, new experiences get added, and it just evolves as a platform. The same will be true with Kinect.
"We've got obviously the full-body tracking, our voice technology, the human recognition system -- all these things, developers can use today. But just like any part of the platform, we're going to constantly evolve and work on it over time to give developers new features they want, to give consumers the new experiences they want. That's just going to be something that, as we roll into the future, is just constantly growing," Tsunoda says.