Small developers interested in exploring development opportunities on Microsoft's Kinect needn't worry about additional costs, says Microsoft Game Studios' GM Kudo Tsunoda, who says Kinect isn't any more expensive to develop for than any other platform.
"Very little of the time, energy and cost that you spend on the title comes down to the controls," he told Edge
in an interview. "There's a direct translation of the user input into an on-screen action that you spend time tuning and crafting, but it's not particularly asset-based -- you don't need a team of 50 artists building a high fidelity world."
Kinect's primary features -- tracking a player's whole body and implementing voice recognition -- are platform-integrated: "all [developers] have to worry about is what the user is doing and how that correlates to the game action," he said. "So this is a small percentage of your development cost. Kinect is no more cost-prohibitive than developing on anything else."
Thus far, most of the titles revealed for Kinect's launch are aimed at a casual family-friendly audience, with studios like Rare, Harmonix and Ubisoft behind Kinect Sports, Dance Central
and Your Shape
, respectively -- the latter title includes Ubi's proprietary body-scan camera technology to create an image of the user themselves inside the game.
But often the most resourceful applications of interface come from the independent community, like Bits & Pieces' IGF nominee Fret Nice
, which used a guitar controller peripheral as interface for a platformer. A minimal cost barrier to entry for developing Kinect titles will mean more developers will have the opportunity to tackle the design challenge inherent in controller-less gameplay, and also suggests the potential for a healthy motion control community on Xbox Live Arcade.