Monday, November 28, 2011

Kinect 2 rumored for next Xbox will read lips, sense your emotion, judge you

When Kinect launched last year, its potential was already compromised. Instead of getting 640x480+depth, we got something more like 320x240+depth (at 30fps), half or less of what the hardware is even capable of. That is due to the USB 2.0 controller interface, which should be 35MB/s. I say "should" because it needs to share that bandwidth with other USB devices on board, which lowers the bandwidth to 5/16MB/s. Microsoft did release a patch that seemed to help the issue, but is very secretive about how much of that is due to data compression.

With that in mind, Kinect 2 is rumored over at Eurogamer to have a higher resolution image and IR sensor so it would naturally need a much higher bandwidth pipeline from the start. The accuracy of Kinect 2 is stated by Eurogamer's source to be "so powerful it will enable games to lip read, detect when players are angry, and determine in which direction they are facing.".

Also rumored lately, is 2 future Xbox SKUs. One of them being referred to as XboxTV, with stripped down capabilities and Kinect gaming portal (why not just reconfig a 360?) and the other being a hardcore games machine called Infinity or Loop, which would be backward compatible. Eurogamer also sites a past Wii-like controller concept also named Loop. I would imagine a reconfigured Xbox controller made to be used in single or dual-handed forms would make plenty of sense to me. This would really open up the hybrid gameplay with tandem Kinect and controller(s). The new consoles are rumored to be unveiled at E3 next summer, with some speculating a winter 2012 release and others suggesting a winter 2013 release.

Whether or not this Kinect 2 is the same as the upcoming Kinect for Windows remains to be seen, but one would assume that some sort of consolidation would keep cost down.

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