Houston (TheNextXbox) – The next-generation Xbox is getting closer and closer to an official unveiling, and we are starting to learn a lot more about what to expect from the new technology. The next Xbox, according to all of our sources, is going to ship with the new and improved Kinect. This begs the question though, is Microsoft wagering too much of its future on this piece of hardware?
The original Kinect launched on the Xbox 360 as an add-on peripheral a few years ago, and brought with it a lot of critical praise. Games like Dance Central and Kinect Sports enjoyed a lot of success on the console. The fact of the matter though is that the piece of hardware never really took off in terms of full-blown mainstream success. Much of this was due to the fact that since the entire Xbox 360 user base did not own a Kinect, developers were hesitant to put a lot of resources into the technology.
That is going to change with the next-generation Xbox, as Microsoft is expected to ship every next-generation Xbox with a brand new improved version of the Kinect. This means that everyone who owns the next Xbox is also going to own the new Kinect, making the installed user base exactly the same.
With that said, if Microsoft is going to spend the extra money to make sure a Kinect is packed in with every next-generation Xbox, you know they are going to work hard to make first and third-party developers create software for the console.
Microsoft is making it pretty clear that they are betting big on this new next-generation Kinect technology, so much that it is likely going to be a focal point of the new Xbox when it is released.
We see this as a major risk on the part of Microsoft. By placing so much weight on this peripheral, you may end up with a situation similar to what Nintendo went through with the Wii, where third-parties are releasing a lot of junk games just to have gamers paying $40 or $60 on a bunch of mini-games thrown together.
On top of that, hardcore gaming experiences may force gamers to make use of the Kinect when at the end of the day, they may just want a more hardcore gaming experience without this addition.
Microsoft is going to have to walk a fine line with the next Xbox and the Kinect, to the point where they strike a good balance between pleasing the hardcore gamers, as well as potentially attracting more casual gamers than they did with the Xbox 360.