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Rare looking into “more natural conversation” for the Kinect

By: Musa Afridi

  |   July 2nd, 2012   |  
News, Uncategorized
Xbox 360 Kinect

The developer behind Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports 2 is working towards advancing the Kinect’s voice and speech recognition capabilities.

Nintendo introduced the concept of motion controlled gaming into the mainstream as their Wii console was based on the concept. To everyone’s surprise the console outsold both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 as gamers, both core and casual, flocked in their thousands to get a piece of the latest bit of innovation.

Microsoft and Sony took notice and began developing motion control peripherals of their own. Sony went with a more precise version of the Wii while Microsoft went in a completely different direction with the Kinect.

However, there is still a sense the neither Sony nor Microsoft have unlocked the true potential of their respective technology with no triple-A title having been developed for either of them. Sony has made an effort by making titles such as Killzone 3 and Resistance 3 compatible with the Move but even then it is just an added feature and not the main control scheme for the game.

Things are even worse for the Kinect as there has been no breakthrough title for the technology, which at the moment seems to be catering towards the casual gamer market. However, David Quinn from Rare, is working towards unlocking an aspect of the Kinect that could change the way the console is used.

According to him, the studio pushed the way the console recognises and breaks down voice commands, stating that up until now it has been a case of issuing commands in an almost formal tone.

He said, “We pushed speech pretty hard in Sports 2, but it was also a very say-what-you-see approach; in golf, you change clubs [by saying] ‘four iron’, kind of thing.”

Quinn continued by indicating the direction he wanted the speech recognition and interpretation to take in the future. He said, “What I’d like to see and what we’re investigating now is a more natural conversation way of talking to the Kinect, so you can say, ‘Hey, caddy, give me a five iron,’ or ‘Hey, caddy, what should I use now?’”

The developer also admitted that he was impressed by the way BioWare made use of the Kinect in their latest title, Mass Effect 3.

He said, “I think is an excellent use of speech. You can use speech in Kinect in a more core title, and it really demonstrated that. I think from here on in you’ll see a lot of speech in core games.”

At the same time one has to wonder why no one is making more use of the camera in the Kinect and focusing so much on voice and speech recognition. Hopefully CryTek’s Ryse may change that trend but that game is still in development.