"I'm a huge fan of [Kinect]," Ubisoft's Laurent Detoc tells Gamasutra, alongside Microsoft's big E3 push to put all eyes on its new gesture controls for the Xbox 360.
And according to Detoc, there are still more opportunities to attract new audiences with accessible controls, despite Nintendo's market dominance. Games with user-friendly accessories "may be a little more mass market, but it's also less predictable," he suggests, citing the last several months' decline in the peripheral-equipped music game genre, once so attractive to a more casual consumer because of the recognizable objects.
"It's not just driven by the economy, but also the consumer may be a little more fickle because of the casual nature, as with the music category in particular," he adds.
But there's one key difference between a game with an accessory tacked on and a product like Kinect -- whereas peripheral-equipped games simulate a real-life experience, motion controls add an element of technology to enhance behaviors players are already using.
"What we've observed with the Wii.... when my 75 year-old mom can start playing, it's because the accessory has made it accessible," heDetoc says.
"In the case of [Kinect], the accessory is just a very high-end piece of technology -- it's so much more easy and friendly for users, and will create a lot of new experiences just like the Wii."
Ubisoft is debuting a dance game on the device, a gameplay mode that Detoc predicts will be "huge" in the coming year. "But I've seen 50 proper types of gameplay it would be nice to see on it eventually," he says. "This is going to make a lot more people in gaming."
Much of Ubisoft's attention in the emerging high-end motion control space is concentrated on Kinetic, however, and Detoc says the company doesn't have the same sort of focus on Sony's PlayStation Move.
"It's not the same type of support, because it's not the same type of design," Detoc explains. "We have something very unique in the case of [Kinect] -- the 3D camera capability." The realm of the camera is one of the main provinces for Ubisoft, a company that's always seen a smooth spectrum between games, film and animation.
"We were working on that three years back," he reveals. "We've been working with some of the startups that were exploring in the business, but it only became a good thing for us when Microsoft did this."
"We're playing on that edge, and because we thought we had an advantage, we're going to use technology that's different than what Microsoft has proposed."
Ubisoft's contribution? "A projection system that tracks a person's image," suggests Detoc. "Player projection technology; we werre working down that path before Microsoft came to us with their solution."
The revelation here, as Ubisoft recently revealed, is technology whereby a player's silhouette is projected directly onto the game screen, not through an avatar; the company says this focuses the experience more directly on the user.
Ubisoft will debut this tech with newly-announced Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
, a fitness game that uses Kinect to let players try a variety of individual and family training modes. According to the company, the game tracks the player's real body throughout the session, and the game can provide direct feedback to help players correct their positioning -- some of the same features that led the success of Wii Fit
, only without the balance board.
"We will obviously support Move; we have several games for that as well," Detoc says. "I'm just a believer in the accessorization of the motion controls that brings accessibility."
"It's about making the real-world experience better," he adds. "There's a lot to be said for that, for trying to enhance the real world and make it better."