Rare's Scott Henson Details Kinect's Accuracy and Voice Improvements

Rare Studio Manager Scott Henson has talked to Eurogamer about Kinect, its future and the continued evolution of the tracking software. Starting with big, bold gestures in Kinect Sports, Kinect Sports Season 2 is the perfect example to show how Kinect has evolved over the past year.

"Last year we were throwing javelins and making big huge movements. This year we're throwing darts. From a consumer perspective, that's a fundamental difference.

The idea you move your hand that far and we can track it and it actually makes a difference, and we can track how the hand moves down or up, and that will change the trajectory the dart goes: pretty big deal." he said.

When it comes voice control, Kinect Sports 2 is taking a major leap beyond what has been achieved on Kinect before. Kinectimals currently has the largest implementation of voice control, containing 30 unique phrases. In the golf mini-game alone, Kinect Sports 2 supports over 300 phrases. It's all about natural communition, says Henson.

"You'll literally say something like, 'you know caddy, I think I need something that helps me with the wind conditions.' Then the caddy will respond with, 'well, it could be either a six iron or a seven iron.' And you say, 'oh, I'd like the seven iron.' It'll be that natural of a conversation."

In our game it will be, 'change club seven iron.' But absolutely, without question, the journey we're on is what I just described. That is where we will go. And guess what will be there? Software. Software will be the key that unlocks why that's possible. We already have the microphone there. Now we just need to continue to adapt and grow and build our software to make that better."

Henson also notes that Kinect Fun Labs is proving that Kinect has always had the potential to live up to its initial promises, showing off finger tracking and object recognition, and with upcoming titles like Ghost Recon: Future Warrior we're seeing Minority Report-style navigation done with ease.

Space limitation is also something being taken into consideration. "It comes down to what the activity is and how much space you need. With darts, we only need about a foot to play that sport.

Tennis is very different than darts. It's about making it feel like tennis. You do drop shots and cross-court shots. It's not a play space constraint, per se. It's really adapting to what the expectations would be around the experience you're trying to create. If you're just doing this [moves hand close to chest], that doesn't feel like tennis. We could do that by the way. We kind of did that with table tennis.

So what's next? Will we soon reach Kinect's hardware limitation and see software hit a wall? Not for a long time, says Henson. "We have far more ahead of us than we have behind of us. Far more. I wouldn't even want to begin to hazard a guess of when we think we'll hit the limits because we're just getting started.

"We'll see more this year. You'll see more titles. You saw quite a bit at E3. There's a whole bunch of stuff we didn't talk about first party. I'm sure there's plenty of stuff that hasn't been talked about in the industry. You've got years and years and years ahead of what was released last year."

"It's a long road ahead."

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