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Microsoft's Spencer: No 'Mandate' For First-Parties To Use Kinect

Microsoft's Spencer: No 'Mandate' For First-Parties To Use Kinect

October 25, 2010 | By Brett Bates, Staff

October 25, 2010 | By Brett Bates, Staff
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While Microsoft has confirmed over 15 first- and third-party launch window titles for the Kinect, the company tells Gamasutra there is no internal requirement for first-party developers like Fable studio Lionhead or Forza house Turn 10 to develop games that implement Kinect motion control.

Asked if Microsoft has a mandate among first-party developers to create games using Kinect, Microsoft Game Studio corporate VP Phil Spencer responded with a flat, "No." His response counters rumors that Microsoft is shying away from controller-based games to put all of its resources towards Kinect-based games.

"Fable III ships [this] week,‭ ‬and it’s not a Kinect game," Spencer noted.‭ ‬"I think I said this a year ago:‭ ‬I think there’s opportunity in Fable for things that make sense with Kinect.‭ But ... i‬t’s a trivial equation ... that people buy great games.‭ ‬And they buy the platforms that those great games show up on."

He added, "We’ve been committed -- definitely on the first-party side, and third parties have done a great job here as well -- in making sure that our experiences are as good as we know how to make them. It doesn’t mean they're always going to be great; we’re human."

Spencer continued, "And that’s not born out of us putting mandates that a game has to be a certain length, a certain color, use a certain control scheme, [that] 'A' must do something, or even dictating [implementation of Xbox] Live."

"What we think we do is we unlock potential, and the creators usually want to take advantage of things like Live," the executive explained. "And you’ve seen now that Live shows up in almost every one of games, not because I stop on top and say, 'You have to.' But they just see the opportunity that's there. I think honestly that’s really what you’re going to see with Kinect. But I don’t want to force it into places it doesn’t belong."

Microsoft is placing a sizable bet on the theory that the mass market wants to control video games with Xbox 360's Kinect camera controller, which launches in early November.

Gamasutra will have more Kinect comments and full interviews from key Microsoft Game Studios figures in the coming days.

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